Skip to main content

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

Full text of "The life and adventures of David Lewis, the robber and counterfeiter"

See other formats




Life and adventures 







0. D. RISHEL. ^ 

I ^ 

For Sale by the Publisher, Agents and Booksellers. 

C. D. RISHEL, Publisher, 

Newville, Cumberland County, Pa. 




Copyrighted 1890, 



The New Era Print, 
Lancaster, Pa. 

//- nn^n^ 


rr^HE editor for years lamented the evil influence so many of the 
-*- books on exploits, daring deeds, etc., exert on the minds of the 
youthful readers of the land. Generally the characters are held up 
as "worthy of admiration, and the susceptible and unsuspecting and 
unguarded mind is unconsciousl}' led into the path of sin and crime. 

The story of the James brothers has created many admirers of 
those desperadoes. The killing of one of them by Ford has brought 
on Ford the anger and condemnation of many. To them the James 
brothers were martyrs and the Fords, assassins. , 

We are desirous to contribute of our ability to aid in counteract- 
ing such evil influences ; and hence republish with marked addi- 
tions the life of David Lewis, the robber. 

A pamphlet containing his confession had been published shortly 
after his death, and republished with some additions in 1853. 

We have listened with interest to the many traditions which are 

still circulated, and had intended to publish several of them, but we 

are not writing fiction, hence the absence of such matter. 

Newville, Pa., September, 1890. 



THE republication of this work is from a copy, which, after dili- 
gent inquiry, was found in the possession of an old citizen of 
Newville, Cumberland count3^ Although it contains some interest- 
ing adventures, it is not what the writer of this preface expected to 
find it. Many of the boldest and most romantic exploits of " the 
great robber," which have come to us by tradition, are entirely 
omitted ; and since thej' are so, are probably false. But quite a 
number of robberies, and attempts to rob, which have been derived 
from authentic sources, from people residing in the neighborhood 
where they are said to have happened, are also omitted. Indeed in 
the following confession, Lewis appears rather in the character of a 
burglar than a robber. There is, besides, too much of a dabbling 
in politics to give the work the appearance of a very honest confes- 
sion. While Lewis apparently professes to feel himself under deep 
obligations of gratitude to Governor Findlay, he nevertheless takes 
several opportunities of covertly assailing him and of making both 
him and his party odious to the public. 

We hardly know what to think about his statements in regard to 
his education. He speaks of himself as an entirely illiterate man, 
while it is certain that before he started in his career of crime, he 
taught a school in the lower end of Cumberland county ; at least 
some very respectable citizens of that portion of the county say 
they went to school to him, and that he was an excellent teacher, 
and a gentleman in his manners. 

The great charm, if such it might be called, that has been woven 
around the name of Lewis, arose from his surprising physical powers 
and activity ; the boldness and ingenuity displayed in many of his 
robberies ; his generosity to the poor ; his firm determination never 
to take life, except in self-defence, and the " magnanimit}^ " that is 
said to have frequently characterized his conduct. 

But there is little if auy trace of these qualities in his confession. 
If they ever existed, either Lewis'' modesty forbids his mentioning 
them, or the writer of the work had so litte love for them himself 
as to deem them unworthy of notice. Mankind admire agility, 


strength, and the moral faculties, and are captivated with their dis- 
play in almost any character, and under almost any circumstances. 
But they revolt at the character of a robber, in his single character 
as such. When we speak admiringly of si\ch men as Lewis has 
been described to have been, it is the springs of the moral nature at 
work in sympathy' with virtue, bursting from the midst of crime, 
which had apparently fettered it down : it is not the criminal him- 
self. A highway robber is sometimes admired, while a burglar is 
universally detested ; and yet they are both mere thieves and felons. 
But there is a species of bravery in the first, meeting his victim face 
to face in open daylight, which is looked upon as manly. He is 
admired still more if his crime is committed without brutality ; he 
is admired still more if the robber is polite and courteous, esjyecially 
to females, if there be an}' in the party he plunders. It is not the 
robber, therefore, that is admired ; it is the glimmering of virtue, 
heroism or gallantry, that breaks out even in crime. On the other 
hand a burglar stealthily and cowardly enters the dwelling at the 
hour of midnight, when he supposes all the inmates are asleep, and 
there is nothing but the unvarnished character of the thief and felon, 
which is always detested. 



THE world's histoiy is one enormous, perpetual exhibition of 
human life. The deep, unfathomable thoughts of the human 
heart rise like bubbles from the depths of the sea to the surface, 
and only as they discover themselves, do we learn what the.y are. 
Actions invariablj' speak louder than words. By their fruit do we 
know all men. Men are books to be seen and read. To be read as 
we observe their actions in life. The world is a stage on which we 
all will appear in our own individualism. The character of the man 
will be exhibited without au}^ assumption. The real man will dis- 
cover himself, in spite of all his efforts to conceal. 

He will play his character almost unconsciously to himself. 
David Lewis became what he was by allowing the inclinations of 
his thoughts to master the better qualities of the man. A robber, 
a counterfeiter, a low, degraded character, yet we cannot fail but 
discover a heart averse to murder, to injustice, to dishonesty in 
public life, to wrongs to the weaker sexes. 

If David Lewis liad started life in a different channel, he, no 
doubt, would have been an honor to the town of his birth, and 
would have gone to his grave lamented by many. But a life so 
eventful, so criminal, went out like a smoking lamp, obscured in 

David Lewis is dead ; his remains lie slumbering in the valley of 
Centre County, but he has left on record a brief history which will 
live for years. We trust to employ his history in order to benefit 
mankind, to counteract the popular desire for satanic notoriety and 
the applause of the vulgar and licentious. 

As soon as it was learned that we possessed a copy of the con- 
fession of Lewis, the robber, as he is commonly called, quite a 
number were anxious to see it, in order to gratify the passions of 
curiositj'', and some perhaps to feast on the deeds of crime and ad- 
ventures of a truly singular personage. 

The morbid, craving passions of the natural man is readily stimu- 
lated by thoughts of bravado, chivalry and false heroism. Books 
of the blood and thunder order, of piracy, of daring deeds and acts 


of cruelty, of adventures among Indians, and exploits in train rob- 
bery, are in constant demand and devoured as ravenously as a 
hungry lion would enjoy a dainty meal on the body of a native of 
tjie jungles. 

Book writers are constantly catering to such appetites and de- 
sires, until now our homes and libraries are literally flooded with 
the most pernicious literature, and thousands of our youth are 
poisoned with their degrading and ruinous influence. 

Characters of the most inhuman description are held up as heroes 
and as benefactors, and are lauded to the highest pinnacle of fame 
for deeds of cruelty, injustice and rapine, and are almost canonized 
as saints of the first magnitude in the constellation of benefactors 
of the human race. 

Characters, who have hurled the missies of destruction and death, 
and left distress and untold suffering in their trail, if they have but 
a single redeeming quality, are praised and honored more than the 
noblest deeds of charity and mercy of the best and grandest men. 

Men, proven guilty of embezzlement, of bank robbery, of forgery, 
of murder and of unnamed crimes are frequently made the subjects 
of sympathy, and are the recipients of bouquets, dainties, books 
and letters of love. 

Woman, fair, pure, gentle, innocent woman, sometimes becomes 
so grossly infatuated with such condemned characters imtil, like in 
the case of Melinda, the wife of Lewis, the robber and counterfeiter, 
they are willing to sacrifice principles, home, honor, and morals in 
order to caress the greatest villains that ever languished in a dun- 
geon or expiated their crimes on the gallows. 

Why these singular phenomena among refined intelligent beings ? 
It seems almost incredible that, contrary to all good and pure 
morals and adverse to public safety and in defiance to the laws of 
our land, and the high commands and decrees of heaven, that crimes 
and their perpetrators should receive so great sympathy and de- 
fenders among a people so highly intelligent and so pure in morals. 

The character referred to in this sketch has received, because of 
his several redeeming qualities, considerably more praises than are 
due to him. Because among his thousand deeds of injustice and 
crimes, here and there a faint star of some act of kindness glitters, 
and the beholder is enwrapt on discovering a single star in the 
darkest night of the adventures of David Lewis. He has been 
looked upon as the Robin Hood of Pennsylvania. 

David Lewis, no doubt, possessed several good qualities, un- 


noticed in the life of a truly good man ; but conspicuous in the 
the life of a criminal. We shall not attempt to elevate Lewis, the 
robber, as a model for the young, nor to stimulate emotions for 
crime and daring deeds ; but as a beacon, a flaming fire of warning 
to the youth of our land against following the natural inclination 
of their thoughts and the propensities of their hearts. We trust 
under the Divine blessing many of our interesting readers will be 
benefited. In his confession Lewis states of several very roman- 
tic, and, to some, facinating events ; but we call the attention of 
our readers to note their sequels. How truly is Holy Writ confirmed 
in the life of him who is designated as a daring and adventurous 
robber, when it says : " The way of the transgressor is hard." 
" There is a way that seemeth right unto man ; but the end thereof 
are the ways of death." 



Historic Sketches of Cumberland County. Pa. — Carlisle — Dickinson College 
— Springs and Caves — Shippensburg — Xewville — Cbambersburg. Bedford 
County — Bedford Springs. Centre County — Bellefonto — Landisburg — 


CUMBERLAND County was erected by the action of Governor 
James Hamilton, January 27th, 1150. The reason for adopting 
this name was the early usage of selecting some name from among 
the shires of England. It was formerly a part of Lancaster County. 
The count}' lies altogether in the valley between the South, or as Mr. 
Darby terms it, the Blue Ridge, and the Kittatinny or Blue Moun- 
tain. The surface of the country seems determined by the nature 
of its base. The limestone section is comparatively level, and the 
soil superior to that of the slate. Water, too, is much more equally 
distributed on the latter than the former formation. The valley is 
drained hy the Yellow Breeches on the southeast side, and by the 
Conedogwinit (Conodoguinet) creek on the northwest side. The 
population were chiefly of the descendants of Germans and Scotch- 
Trish, who were the first settlers. It amounted in 1800 to 25,386 ; 
in 1810, when greatly reduced by the formation of other counties, 
to 26,757 ; in 1820, after the subtraction of the county of Perry, to 
23,606, and in 1830 to 29,227, including 945 colored persons, and 
seven slaves. There were also included in the foregoing 13 aliens, 
23 deaf and dumb, and four blind. The surplus produce of the 
county consisted of wheat, rye, oats, flour, whiskey, peach and 
apple brandy, live stock and salted provision. About 250,000 
barrels of flour were sent to market annually, prior to 1832, in 
which time there were six furnaces and four forges in the county. 
Thomas F. Gordon, from whose works we gather some of our infor- 
mation, says, in 1832, that " Heister «fe Co. are erecting an exten- 
sive rolling mill in East Pennsboro." There were also in the 
county 62 grist, 55 saw, eight oil, 11 fulling and nine clover mills. 
There was also a very extensive woolen manufactory^, chiefly em- 
ployed on carpets and cassinettes, on Mountain creek, in South 
Middletown township. There were about 25 churches in the county. 


Carlisle, the county seat, was founded in 1751 by the proprietaries, 
who purchased several farms for that purpose. In 1753 it contained 
five log houses, but being a border town and militar}^ post, it thrived 
rapidl}'. In 1830 it contained 650 houses and 3,708 inhabitants. 

Gordon, in 1832, says : " The principal streets cross each other at 
right angles, and are neatly paved. A large open space was origin- 
ally left in the centre, which is in a great part occupied by two stone 
churches, a market house and a commodious court house, and fire- 
proof offices. Beside these the public buildings in the town are six 
other churches, pertaining to the English Presbyterians, Episco- 
palians, Lutherans, German Presbyterians, Methodists, Scotch Pres- 
byterians and Roman Catholics. 

" Dickenson (Dickinson) College, built of limestone, is situated 
on an elevated spot on the west part of town, erected on the site of 
an elegant brick edifice, which was burned in 1803. The present 
building is 150 feet in length, four stories high and surmounted by 
a beautiful dome." 

" This college received its name in memory of the great and im- 
portant services rendered to his countrj' b}^ John Dickenson, and 
in commemoration of his liberal donation to the institution it was 
established and incorporated by the legislature in 1783, but the 
funds then requisite were supplied by private munificence. But in 
1786 the State gave to it the sum of $500 and 10,000 acres of land, 
and in 1791, $1,500, and in 1795 the further sum of $5,000." 

The building for the accommodation of students having been de- 
stroyed b}" fire in 1803, the Legislature authorized the treasurer of 
Cumberland county to pay to the trustees of the college $6,000, 
from the arrearages of State taxes due from the county by way of 
loans, and by an Act of 1806, this loan was increased to $10,000. 
The college struggled on until, in 1828, it had six academical in- 
structors, 22 graduates, and 109 under-graduates, and assisted six 
indigent students. 

The expenses of a student here for one year, with the exception 
of his books, candles and clothing, were estimated at $176. 

East of town were extensive barracks and other buildings erected 
during the revolutionary war. 


" There are some springs and a limestone cave near Carlisle which 
merit attention. The Sulphur Springs about four miles north of the 
town, on a branch of the Conodoguinet creek, were formerly much 


frequented, and there is here a large building for the accomraoda- 
tiou of visitors. In the centre of a large field, a mile and a half north 
of town, is the Hogshead Spring, in a conical excavation nearly 
sixtj' feet in circumference, having a limestone wall on one side, 
and a gentle and regular descent upon the other. Six or eight feet 
below the summit is an arched opening, through which is a passage 
declining at an angle of 40°, and 10 feet deep, wide enough to ad- 
mit a man stooping. At the bottom of this cavity is a pool of de- 
licious water, apparently stagnant, yet sweet, cool, and refreshing ; 
qualities which it always preserves, but there are no visible means 
by which the basin receives or discharges it. 

" On the banks of the Conodoguinet, about one and a half miles 
from Carlisle, is a cave, once the haunt of David Lewis. The en- 
trance is by a semicircular archway, seven feet high, in a limestone 
rock, of twenty feet perpendicular elevation. So true and finished 
is the curve of this portal, that the spectator is induced to believe 
it to have been perfected by art ; and such opinion is corroborated 
by the apparently dressed surface of the interior. 

" The first or ante-chamber has a length of ninety yards, and is 
high enough to admit the visitor to stand erect. Three passages 
branch from it. That on the right is broad and low, and from the 
moisture of the stones, frequently difficult of access. It leads to a 
chamber as large as the first. This apartment bears the name of the 
Devil's Dining Room. Some persons assert that there is a narrow 
and unexplored passage leading from it. The centre passage from 
the ante-chamber is very narrow, and in direction, similar to a 
winding stair and is impassible after a progress of ten yards, 
and terminates in a perpendicular excavation. The left hand pas- 
sage, at the distance of three or four feet from the entrance, turns 
suddenly to the right, and extends nearly thirty j^ards, with suffi- 
cient breadth and height to permit a small boy to creep along it ; 
but it becomes thenceforth too straight for further progress. 
About seven feet from the entrance of this gallery are several 
small pools of water formed by the drippings of the roof, which 
have been mistaken for springs. 

" This cavern is dark and damp and must be examined by torch- 
light. An opinion prevails in the neighborhood that the Indians 
formerly made it a deposit for their spoils, and an asylum in sea- 
sons of danger, and it may possibly have served as a tomb ; but 
none of the articles usually buried with the Indians have been 
found here ; yet human bones were formerly seen in it." 


Newville, south of Lewis' cave, in Mifflin township, and fre- 
quently visited by Lewis, the robber, and Ms accomplices, was in- 
corporated by Act 26th February, 1811, and in Lewis' day con- 
tained about 100 dwellings and several mills and 530 inhabitants, 
six stores, three taverns, one Presbj'^terian and one Seceder church. 

Shippensburg in 1830 contained 300 houses, and 1808 inhabi- 
tants, one Presbyterian, one Lutheran, one Seceder and one Meth- 
odist church. 

Chambersburg, Franklin county, one of the most flourishing in- 
land towns in the State in 1832, is pleasantly situated at the con- 
fluence of the Falling Spring and Conecocheague creeks. The 
site of its location was selected a century since, (now nearly two 
centuries), for its advantages of water power and soil, b}'^ Col, Ben- 
jamin Chambers, for his residence and settlement, in a wilderness, 
through which, at that time, roamed the red men and the animals 
of the forests. He erected a dwelling and the first mills in the 
count}^, and surrounded them by a fort, which sheltered, from the 
incursions of the savages, his family and others who were induced 
to settle in his neighborhood. The town was laid out in 1764. In 
1830 it contained about 500 dwellings and a population of 2,764. 
Its public buildings were a brick court house and count^^ offices, 
prisons, eight churches, an academy of brick, three stories high, a 
neat banking house, a Masonic hall. The historian,. 1830, says: "A 
railroad from Harrisburg to Chambersburg is contemplated ; a sur- 
yey and report has been made thereon in 1829, by which it appears 
that the length of the line is nearly 56 miles, and the estimate of 
cost $7,673.33 per mile. A like report has been made on a road 
proposed through Gettj^sburg to York ; but the engineer ("Wm. R. 
Hopkins) deems that no advantage which can be derived from the 
road will justify the expense of its construction." 

Landisburg in Lewis' day contained about 50 dwellings, one 
church, four stores and three taverns, and about 300 inhabitants. 

Stoystown, Somerset county, in 1820, contained about 40 dwell- 
ings, four taverns, four stores and one German Reformed Church. 


THIS mountain county was taken by Act of 9th March, 
1771, from Cumberland county. It is highly favored with a 
superfluous supply of hills with such continental appellations as 
Scrub Hill, Sideling Hill, Town Hill, Clear Ridge, Warrior's Ridge, 
Tussey's Mountain and Dunning's Mountain and the Allegheny. 


Between these lofty ridges are delightful valleys in which are large 
and fertile farms. The average price of improved land in the days 
of Lewis, the robber, was thirty dollars per acre. Mountain land 
sold at from 25 to 50 cents. 

The county in 1790 had a population of 13,12-i ; in 1800, 12,039; 
in 1810, 15,746 ; in 1820, 20,248, and in 1830, 24,557, including one 
slave and 432 colored people. There were 35 aliens, 13 deaf and 
dumb, and 8 blind persons. ' 

In those days the usual wages for good farm hands were from 
$5 to $7 per month, including board; if by the day, from 31 to 37^ 
cents. Cradlers got about 75 cents and reapers and mowers 37^ 
to 50 cents. Here is a graphic pen picture from a writer of those 
good old days. " When we wish to clear a piece of land, we in 
the first place stake it off, and provided with a grubbing hoe, take 
up by the roots every bush or sapling which a stout man can 
shake in the root by grasping the stem and bending it forward and 

" If the roots give to this action it is called a grub and must be 
taken up. Dog-wood, iron-wood and witch hazel are always classed 
among grubs whether they shake in the roots or not. We then cut 
down everything which does not exceed 12 inches across the stump. 
Such parts of the saplings as are fit for ground-poles are chopped 
at the length of 1 1 feet. Next the trees are deadened, leaving one 
or two for shade. This process consists in chopping entirely round 
the tree a curf of three or four inches wide. The advantage of 
deadening timber is immense ; labor is saved in chopping down and 
burning the stuff. Indeed, in this country it is not possible to cut 
down the timber, unless we live in the vicinity of Bedford, because 
farmers are not rich enough to pay for it. In eight or ten years 
the timber begins to fall. When the ground is pretty well covered 
with old logs, the farmers go in to nigger off. This is effected by 
laying the broken limbs and smaller trees across the logs and put- 
ting fire to it. Boys or women follow to chunk up the fire. In a 
day or two the logs are niggered off at the length of 12 to 15 feet. 
When the trees are thus reduced to lengths that can be handled b}' 
men, the owner has a log-rolling. 

" He gives the word to eighteen or twent}- of his neighbors the day 
before the frolic, and when they assemble they generally divide the 
force into two companies. A captain is chosen by acclamation for 
each company, and the captains choose their companies, each nam- 
ing a man alternately. 

" When the whole is formed they set to work, provided with hand- 


spikes, and each company exerts itself to make more log heaps than 
the other. Nothing is charged for the work, and the only thing ex- 
ceptionable in these frolics is the immoderate use of whiskey. In 
general, great hilarity prevails, but these meetings, like others in 
this county, are sometimes disgraced by dreadful combats between 
the persons composing them. In addition to our log-rolling frolics, 
we have frolics to haul out dung, to husk corn, and to raise our 

" The corn husking is done at night. The neighbors meet at dark ; 
the corn has been previously pulled, and hauled in a pile near the 
crib. The hands join it, the whiskey bottle goes round, the story, 
the laugh, and the rude song are heard. Three or four hundred 
bushels are husked by ten o'clock ; a plentiful supper is provided, 
and sometimes the frolic ends with a stag-dance, that is, men and 
boys, without females, dance like mad demons, to the time of a 
neighbor's cat-gut and horse hair." 

" We raise no cotton or sugar cane, but we manufacture sugar 
from the sugar maple. A tree is calculated to produce, a season, 
a barrel of water of thirty gallons, and it requires six gallons to 
make a pound of sugar. A average price of maple sugar is from 
six to ten cents per pound." 

The most impoi'tant town in the county is Bedford, the county 
seat. It was formerly called Raystown ; from it the stream on which 
it lies took its name. It contained in 1830, 8T9 inhabitants, and 
consisted of 150 dwellings, 8 stores and 8 taverns. The chief attrac- 
tion of Bedford is the mineral springs in its vicinity. The curative 
power of these springs is said to have been discovered in 1804 by a 
mechanic of Bedford, while fishing for trout in the stream near the 
principal fountain. He was attracted by the beauty and singularity 
of the waters flowing from tl^e bank and drank freely. They pro- 
duced purgative and sudorific effects. He had suffered many years 
from rheumatic pains and formidable ulcers in the legs. On the en- 
suing night he was more free from pain, and slept more tranquil than 
usual, and this unexpected relief induced him to drink daily of the 
waters, and to bathe his limbs in the fountain. In a few weeks he 
was entirely cured. The happy effect which they had on this patient, 
led others, laboring under various chronic diseases, to the springs. 
In the summer of 1805 many valetudinarians came in carriages and 
encamped in the valley, to seek from the munificent hand of nature 
their lost health. 

The old jail of Bedford was the one out of which David Lewis 
and others escaped. 



CENTRE county was formed by Act 13th February, 1800. By 
the same act, the trustees therein named were authorized to 
take assurance for the payment of money and grants of land, stip- 
ulated for by James Dunlop and James Harris, and such others as 
might be offered to them, in trust to dispose thereof one moiety in 
some productive fund for the support of an academy or public 
school in the countj^, and with other moneys to be raised in the 
count}^, to erect public buildings for the county in the town of 

The editor of the Bellefonte Patriot^ previous to 1832, gave the 
following spirited passage : 

" We will close our remarks with one word for our county in 
general ; most emphatically called Centre county ; and as it is the 
heart of the State by geographical position, so it is the head by 
local advantages. We except none, unless Huntingdon and Mifflin. 
True we have mountains, but we have plains, and our mountains 
are as valuable as valleys. First, they preserve health ; we have no 
fever, nor chills ; but many births and few deaths ; second, our 
mountains abound with fine timber of every kind and quality ; and 
third, with mineral wealth ; and fourth, when fruit is destroyed by 
frost on our valleys, it is preserved on our mountains. In short, for 
fertilit}' of soil, mineral resources, manufacturing advantages, and 
everj'thing which can contribute to man's comfort and happiness, it 
is scarce equalled, certainly not surpassed, by any county in the 
State. It is none of your whortleberry, cranberry, or hemlock 
counties, calculated to nurture wolves, bears and panthers, and not 
for the residence of man ; but a county abounding with advantages 
which have not yet been duly estimated, but which undoubtedly 
will be, when the West Branch caiml is constructed, and the Ameri- 
can protecting system goes into vigorous operation." 

The population in 1800 was 5,000 ; in 1810, 10,681 ; and in 1820, 
13,796, including 262 colored persons and five sltvves ; deaf and 
dumb six, and two blind. 

The principal town and county seat is Bellefonte, and contained 
in 1810 a population of 203; in 1820,433; 1830, 699. In Belle- 
fonte jail David Lewis ended his days. 



Doubling Gap — Mineral Springs — Indian Trails — Big Beaver — Shosones 
Tribe — Captain Jack, the Black Rifle — His Family Murdered — Swears 
Eternal Vengeance Against the Indian — Many a Scalp Decorated his Cave 
— Was Scalped Alive and Tortured to Death — Blockhouse in the Gap — 
Early Settlers — Flat Rock — The Great Summer Resort — Fruit Farm — One 
of Lewis' Haunts — The Erection of the New Resort — Lewis' Cave — Lewis, 
the Robber — The Springs — Its Ingredients. 

THE hardy pioneers of the early history of the valley, in pene- 
trating the vast forests in their westward march of civilization, 
in determining their location, were always tempted by the streams 
of water flowing through the deep recesses of the forest, or were 
attracted by the various springs found in the wilderness. Some of 
these springs possessed peculiar medicinal properties, and are yet 
remembered on account of their containing some remedial virtue. 
This is chiefly so on the north side of the valley, skirting the base 
of the Kittatinny Mountains, and in a few isolated cases found near 
the centre of the valley, but not outside of the shales or slate rock 

The principal ones which have a wide celebrity, and the most com- 
monly known, are the Mineral Spi'ings of Doubling Gap. The early 
history of these springs is somewhat in doubt, but it is a certain 
fact that Doubling Gap, to the pioneer settlers, was one of the 
earliest known of the numerous gaps in this range of mountains. 
This gap has figured prominently in the traditions of the first set- 
tlers, and was quite prominent as a commanding pass from the Sho- 
sone Indians on the south to the fierce Tuscororas on the north 
long before th^ time that a white settler had dared to set a foot in 
this wild region. During the colonial Indian wars an Indian trail 
from the Susquehanna, starting from the mouth of the Juniata and 
following a direct course through Doubling Gap, thence to the 
mouth of Brandy Run, at the Conodoguinet creek, continued to the 
intersection of the great trail leading from the Susquehanna river 
to the Ohio in the west. In fact it is asserted that the springs in 
the gap were well kpowu and resorted to frequently by the Indians 


who had learned of their health-giving properties, and their location 
and medicinal properties were handed down from one generation to 
another. Certain it is, that to the earliest settlers they were well 
known, and it is fairly to be presumed thej' received their knowledge 
from the wild inhabitants of the forest. 

An early writer, in referring to Doubling Gap, sa3's : " The place 
for many miles around is invested with many historical facts and 
legends connected with the early settlements of the country". It 
was in the adjoining valley (Sherman's) and on these mountains 
that Big Beaver, a chief of the Shosones, with his tribe in 1752 
and for years before had their hunting grounds, having been driven 
in 1677 from Carolina and Georgia. This valley was the grave of 
many of his children and the scene of many a massacre. It was 
where the far-famed and many-named Captain Jack — the Black 
Rifle — the Wild Hunter, etc. — entered the woods, built his cabin 
and cleared a little patch of land within sight of the spring and: 
amused himself with hunting and fishing. He was happ}', having 
not a care, but on returning home one evening found his cabin, 
burnt and his wife and children brutally murdered by the Indians. 
From that moment he forsook civilized man, lived in caves, pro- 
tected the inhabitants from the Indians and seized every oppor- 
tunity for revenge that offered. 

" It is authentically stated that the person here referred to was one 
Joseph Ager, or Aiger, who with Lis father and inoiher located' 
here as early as 1751; that on returning home, weary from a day's 
hunt, he found his aged father and mother murdered and scalped by 
the Indians. This was about the year 1 755. Over their dead bodies, 
it is said, he swore eternal enmity to all Indians and devoted him- 
self to their destruction. Burying the bodies of his beloved parents 
he returned to the mountains and secreted himself along the Indian 
trail, and many an unsuspecting savage fell beneath tlie unerring 
aim of his deadly rifle. Here he lurked for years, little known 
among the haunts of the white man, but ever on the path of the red 
man, sleeping in the open air even in times of the most extreme 
danger and fleeing only when pursued by an overpowering band of 
Indians to the recesses of his rocky cavern. He was held in such 
dread by the tribes which infested this region that their trail 
through the gap was almost wholly abandoned by them. Scores of 
gory scalps hung from the roof of his rocky caves ; his prowess 
struck terror to the savages and his exploits and his name traversed 
the wilderness beyond the Allcghcnies to the headwaters of the 


Ohio river. He at last was surprised and fell into the hands of his 
savage foes, who scalped him alive and tortured him to death at or 
near the spring that is the headwaters of the stream flowing into 
the valley below. A mound of stones was raised over his body by 
his friends ; and some of the older inhabitants of that section af- 
firm its remains could be distinctly seen until very recently. 

One of the oldest block-houses in the valley was built along this 
trail a short distance below the springs ; portions of its remains 
still existed years ago and were well known to man}^ who resided 
in that locality not many years ago. 

Doubling Gap was formerly known as " McFarlan's " Gap. James 
McFarlan located about 1000 acres of land just below the gap, and 
we find in the court records of the county for April, 1791, the 
petition for a road " from Thomas Barnes' sulphur spring in the gap 
formerly known as McFarlan's Gap to Carlisle." The above indi- 
cates the original name of the gap, but at what time subsequent to 
the year 1791 it assumed its present name, we have no definite 

The formation of the gap is peculiar, being formed by the lapping 
or turning of the mountain back on itself, being shaped on its sum- 
mit somewhat like the letter " S." Facing you from the south stand- 
ing in the valley below is " Round Knob, " rising about fourteen 
hundred feet above tidewater ; on the top of this is " Flat Rock," 
one of the most noted lookouts in this range of mountains from 
which, as has been said," may be had a view of peculiar and excep- 
tional beauty and grandeur." The whole Cumberland valley, from 
the Susquehanna with its varied scenes and objects, its wealth of 
agriculture, its busy towns, fields and forests, is placed before you. 
Beyond you, limiting your range of vision, is the blue boundary of 
the South Mountain, while below you is the silvery line marking 
the tortuous flow of the Conodoguinet, winding through the land- 
scape on its way to the majestic Susquehanna. 

In the valley between the mountains are located the springs with 
a large and commodious hotel 150 feet in length, with fountains, 
pavilions, lakes and large shaded lawns. Of the great summer re- 
sorts which invite the dwellers of cities to their cool shades and 
sparkling waters, few can offer superior inducements, as a cool and 
delightful summer resort, to those held out b}^ Doubling Gap 
Springs. Its climate is cool and refreshing, the elevation is high, 
the atmosphere pure and braciug, the nights cool. At first, the 
water was carried av/ay in vessels, and used at home ; then an oc- 


casional visitor found boarding in a neighboring family, and, as 
the reiDutation of the waters increased, a summer boarding house 
was provided, which was located a short distance below the springs 
on what is now known as the "Fruit Farm." It was used as a 
hotel as early as 1800, and was one of the places in the mountains 
frequented by " Lewis, the robber." This hotel was well patron- 
ized by travelers on the State road leading from Cumberland 
county to Bloomfield, and had a number of different proprietors 
nntil about the year 1846, when an association was formed for the 
purpose of enlarging the old building or erecting a new one for the 
accommodation of the numerous patrons of the Springs. This 
association was composed of the following members, to wit : Fred- 
erick Watts, Samuel Ahl, Jamison Hannon, P. A. Ahl, Joseph 
Hannon, John Dunlap, Thomas McCandlish, James McCandlish, 
Thos. A. McKinuey, John Waggoner, Kobert Laird, Samuel Mur- 
ray Davidson and Jacob Sterrett. This management disposed of 
the springs to Scott Coj'le, who erected the large and commodious 
hotel now on the grounds, about the year 1856, and has been a pop- 
ular resort ever since its erection and are now owned b}- the 
Messrs. Ahl, of Newville, Fa. 

Part wa}^ up the knob, on the path to Flat Rock, are the remains 
of Lewis' Cave, a deep recess under a shelving rock. This tvas 
the retreat of Lewis, the robber, a notorious outlaw, well known 
throughout the counties adjoining this range of mountains. Here he 
hid from justice during the years 1816-20. Lewis practiced com- 
munism — at least he boasted that he was not a robber, but an 
equalizer, because he took from the rich and gave to the poor, 
single handed, usually, but sometimes with an assistant. He had 
fast friends in the few inhabitants of the gap, who would frequentlj' 
assemble with him at the summer hotel, as then kept, and pass a 
jolly night at the expense of the generous outlaw. 

In referring to a writer of the history of Cumberland county 
(Dr. Wing) it is there stated that the old hotel was kept by one 
Nicholas Howard (or as some assert Jacob Howard) of Newville, 
who was a fast friend of Lewis. When the coast was clear of all 
danger he would hang out a flag from the the upper window of his 
hotel, which was visible from the cave, and otherwise kept him 
acquainted with the movements of the officers of the law, who were 
seeking his apprehension. When dangerous persons were around, 
or the officers were on the lookout, he had to confine himself to his 
cave and was compelled to rely for his supplies through some of 


his friends in the neighborhood. It was universally believed that 
this friendl}^ service was performed by one Robert Moffitt, who was 
noted for his tender feelings and kindheartedness, and who for one 
moment never supposed that he did wrong in befriending one, even 
an outlaw. 

The waters of these springs were submitted to Prof. James C. 
Booth, a practical and competent chemist of the U. S. Mint, Phila- 
delphia, who reported the following in his analysis : 

" The odor of sulphuretted hydrogen, perceived at some distance 
from the spi'ing, imparts to this water the peculiar properties of 
the Sulphur Springs. Besides this ingredient, I find in the waters 
carbonate of soda and magnesia, Glauber salt, Epsom salt and 
common salt, ingredients which give it an increased value. After 
removing the excess of carbonic acid which it contains, there is an 
alkaline re-action. 

" The chalybeate water readily yields a precipitate after ebullition 
or continued exposure has expelled the excess of carbonic acid. 
Besides the bi-carbonate of iron, which is its chief characteristic, 
it also contains Epsom salt, common salt and carbonate of mag- 

The immediate surroundings of the hotel exhibit the natural fit- 
ness of the place for a summer retreat. The temperature in mid- 
summer usually ranges ten degrees below that of the centre of 
Cumberland Valley, a refreshing breeze being one of its almost con- 
stant features. The place is easy of access, being but eight miles 
from the railroad, and the distance from Baltimore only 120 miles, 
Washington 115 miles, Philadelphia 145 miles, and Harrisburg 40 

Seated on the piazza of the hotel, gazing dreamily at 

Rock-ribbed, and ancient as the sun ; the vales 
Stretching in pensive quietness between ; 
The venerable woods, ****** 
***** and the complaining brooks 
That make the meadows green;" 

we can imagine the stirring events of those early days when the 
smoke of the Indian's wigwam floated lazily through the tops of the 
majestic oaks, and his fires reflected in the waters of the valley; 
when the panting deer bounded along the trail pursued by the 
dusky hunter ; the warrior's echoing whoop resounding through the 
forest ; the blaze of some attacked settler's dwelling ; the inmates 


startled from their peaceful slumber by the fierce war-cry of his 
enemy, rushing from the deadly peril within, only to be met without 
by the deadly tomahawk and the reeking scalping knife. The white 
hunter pursuing cautiously the Indian trail, glancing furtivel}^ from 
side to side and penetrating the gloomy forest with his piercing 
eye ; the timid traveler watching for and fearing the attack of the 
bold and daring robber, Lewis, that chivalrous highwayman whose 
exploits have been the subject of many a story, and many an oft-re- 
peated tale. 

But now, how changed. Instead of forests are beautiful groves 
with winding promenades ; the echoing whoop and the shrill war- 
cry has given way to the " merry laugh of many male and female 
voices," and instead of the dusky savage and the bold highwayman, 
are many of the inhabitants of the busy towns and populous cities 
who seek this cool and delightful mountain resort for pleasure, 
recreation and health. 

"Like the shadows in the stream, 
Like the evanescent gleam 
Of the twilights' failing blaze ; 
Like the fleeting years and days, 
Like all things that soon decay 
Pass the eai'ly scenes away. " 

[We are under many obligations to S. D. Mowery, Esq., for the 
interesting chapter on Doubling Gap. On August 13th myself and 
family visited the famous summer resort, and also climbed the 
mountain to the historic Lewis' Cave. To say that we were de- 
lighted, weakly expresses our emotion ; we were infatuated with the 
grand scenery and magnificent surroundings. Through the gener- 
osity of the owners of this resort. Col. Daniel V. Ahl and P. A. 
Ahl, Esq., we were recommended to the courtesy of our host, Mr. 
G. T. Mclutire, the proprietor, who, with his genial clerk, Mr. P. 
B. Holler, and their estimable wives, entertained us in a right ro3^al 
manner. Thanks, a genuine historic thanks. — Ed.] 



Exploits and Incidents of Lewis -which have Got into Print as Reliable — 
Evidences of his Magnanimity and Bravery — His Coolness when in Peril. 

THE following is contained in the pamphlet of 1853, and fur- 
nishes interesting reading : 

In the following incidents some of the traits of character which 
gave Lewis his " good name " are displayed ; and in justice to those 
who have spoken in his praise, they should be related, as there is 
not much in his confession to sanction their applause. 

An old gentleman of Cumberland, Maryland, named Black, some 
years since related to the writer of this an adventure which he, 
from his own account, had with Lewis in the Allegheny Mountains. 
According to his story, he had crossed the mountains from Cum- 
berland to (I think) Brownsville on horseback, for money. He 
rode a black horse, a fast runner, and while at Brownsville was 
bantered for a race. This was accepted, and the wager was one 
horse for the other. " Blackey," as he called him, won ; and after 
Mr. B. received the mone}' which was the object of his visit, he left 
the place with his prize, and staid that night at a friend's about six 
miles distant on his road home. In the morning his friend gave him 
a flask of excellent peach brandy which he pocketed, and then 
started for the mountains, riding the horse he had won, with 
" Blackey " trotting after him. When he got into a lonely ravine, 
deeply shaded, a man sprang from over a high bank and in one or 
two bounds was on Blackej^'s back. The stranger immediately rode 
up along side, when Mr. B. distinctly perceived the outlines of a 
pistol in each pocket of his pantaloons. As might be supposed our 
informant felt something creeping over him like fear, but he at- 
tempted to conceal it. The stranger, riding peaceably along, com- 
menced a conversation by remarking that " he had seen ' Blackey's ' 
performance the day before, in the race, and was anxious to buy 
him." Mr. B. remarked that he did not wish to sell the horse, as 
he had owned him for some time and would be sorry to part with 
him. His companion still appeared anxious to make the purchase. 


and Mr. B. having strong suspicions of his customer's real character, 
excited by the pistols and his unceremonious introduction, wished 
to get on the best possible terms with him. He therefore stopped 
at a spring on the road, and invited his companion to take some of 
the brandy. Several drinks were taken, he drinking cautiously, 
and his companion quite freely, from the mouth of the flask. They 
again mounted ^and traveled without anything unusual happening, 
refreshing themselves several times from the flask. By and b}" they 
came to another spring, his companion bj' this time feeling sensibly 
the exhilarating effects of the brandy, and evidently in a very 
good humor. The conversation turned somehow on the loneliness 
of the mountains, the danger of robbers, &c., when his companion 
swore that he was not afraid of such characters, and pulled out his 
pistols to show that he was armed. He then asked Mr. B. if he had 
ever heard of Lewis, about whom there was so much excitement, 
and for whose apprehension there were a number of rewards offered. 
Mr. B., putting the best face on the matter he could, replied that he 
had not, and with a terrible stretch of conscience, said he would like 
to see him ; that he had heard a great deal about him and about his 
braver}- and magnanimity, etc. " Would j-ou like to meet him in the 
mountains?" asked his companion. " No," said Mr. B.," I don't 
know that I would fancy that, but if I should, I do not think I would 
stand in any danger of my life." '• You would reall}- like to see 
him then ? " again asked his companion, bj^ this time pretty well 
intoxicated. " Yes," said Mr. B., quaking with fear, " I would." 
" Well, sir," replied the stranger, jumping to his feet, and bracing 
himself into an erect posture, " here is Lewis — I am the man ! " 

" After getting over my affected surprise, and after some further 
conversation," said Mr. B., " he declared that he had met me with 
the intention of taking my mone}' ; that he knew how much I had, 
and where I got it ; but that I had treated him like a gentleman, 
and he would not for the world harm a hair of my head, or take a 
cent from my pocket." Shortly after Mr. B. left without interrup- 
tion, and the last he saw of Lewis, as he turned a bend in the road, 
he was still standing at the spring. Mr. B. remarked that he went 
along at a careless and moderate pace until he got entirely out of 
sight of the robber, but immediatel}- after, the spirit and the flesh 
both moved him to go as rapidl}^ as the horses could travel. 

I have told the story as " 'twas told to me," and all I can say 
about it is, that the gentleman who related it bore a highly re- 
spectable character in Cumberland. What has become of him since, 
I know not. 


Another incident related of Lewis (but whether from a very au- 
thentic source or not, I cannot say), is, that '' the hue and cry " was 
once raised against him in Adams county, and a party of gentlemen 
started in pursuit, not one of whom knew him. In their excursion 
they suddenly came up with a well dressed man on horseback, 
whom they accosted, and asked if he had " seen or heard anything 
of Lewis, the robber." He replied that he had not ; asked what 
kind of a looking man he was, and finding that they could not even 
describe him with anything like accuracy, made a number of other 
inquiries about him, and agreed to assist " in hunting down," as 
he said, " such an outlaw." After riding with the party for some 
time, inquiring their names, places of residence, etc., and the search 
proving fruitless, he left them and took another direction. The 
stranger had the audacity afterwards to send them word " that they 
had been riding for several hours in the company of Lewis, and he 
was anxious to know whether they found his company agreeable." 

On one occasion, of the truth of which I have been told there is 
no doubt, he was riding down the Walnut Bottom road in company 
with a gentleman, and actuall}' stopped him in sight of Centreville, 
and very politely made him deliver up his money. He then took 
to the mountains and made his escape. 

The following incident is said to have happened in Mifflin county : 
Having failed of carr^ ing into execution some of his deeply laid 
schemes for robbing several wealthy farmers during one of his 
maurauding expeditions, and his finances getting uncomfortably 
low, he determined on making an effort to replenish at the first 
opportunity. Coming across a house that promised security from 
molestation, no other being near, he called at the door, and was 
admitted by an elderlj^ female, of respectable appearance. Lewis, 
to ascertain where her money was kept, asked her to change a five 
dollar note. " That unfortunately I am unable to do," replied the 
woman, " for I have not a dollar in the house; and, what is worse," 
she added despondingly, as she caught a glimpse of a man coming 
through the woods some distance from the house, " there comes the 
constable to take my cow for the last half-year's rent. I don't know 
what to do without her." "How much is due?" inquired Lewis, 
hurriedly. " Twenty dollars, sir." " Have you no one to help 
you ? " " No one," she replied. " Then I will," replied the robber 
as he drew from his pocket the exact sum, and threw it upon the 
table. " Pay that fellow his demand, and take his receipt, but don't 
say an^'thing about me." Lewis had just time to make good his 


escape unobserved, when the worthy official arrived. He was pro- 
ceeding without more ado to drive away the cow, when the woman 
came forward, paid him the mone}' and took his receipt. He im- 
mediately set out on his return, but had not proceeded far, when 
Lewis bounded into the road and accosted him with, " How d'ye 
do, stranger? Got any spare change about you?" "No!" sim- 
pered the frightened constable. " Come, shell out old fellow or I'll 
save 3-ou the trouble," returned Lewis as he presented a pistol at 
him. This argument convinced the constable that the fellow was 
up to his business, and he handed over his money as quickly as 
possible. Lewis got his own twenty dollars back, and forty dollars 
in addition. He often boasted that the loan of the twenty dollars 
was one of the best investments he had ever made. 

On one occasion, he is said to have stopped a traveler on the 
mountains, who was on his wa}' from Pittsburg to Philadelphia. 
After he had robbed him, Lewis recognized in him a gentleman 
who had done him some signal service when in trouble. He imme- 
diateh' restored him his mone}^ and sent him on his way rejoicing. 
Connelly, who was with him at the time, complained of this, but 
was immediately silenced by a scowl from Lewis, who held a pistol 
in his hand. 

Such are a few of the stories that have given the robber a char- 
acter above ordinar}^ felons. Connelly, who was often with him, 
was a desperate and blood-thirst)'' villain, who was everywhere held 
in detestation. Fortunately he was under the controlling influence 
of Lewis, who held his brutal desperation in check. 

Doubling Gap, in Cumbei'land county, although the principal, 
was not the onl}- lurking place of this celebrated highwayman. He 
had also " a den " on the other side of the valley, in the heart of the 
mountains, about three miles above Pine Grove. 

This book is republished, with its manifest faults, as there is no 
other account of his exploits, that we know of. It will no doubt 
appear singular to the reader, as he goes along, that he is receiving 
lessons of sound moralit}^ from the greatest outlaw that has prob- 
abl}^ ever infested the mountains. 

The following is taken from the Harrisburg Telegram. The 
writer, however, is mistaken in the place of where Lewis died ; it 
was in Bellefonte and not Lock Haven. 

The cave referred to, near Carlisle, is minutely described in the 
historic sketch of Carlisle, in Chapter II. 

The recent death of John H. Shoenberger, of Pittsburg, suggests 


many interesting reminiscences of the Shoenberger famil}-, who 
were among the first pioneers of the old Ke^^stone State, and stood 
at the head of some of the most flourishing iron ^industries. In 
1808 George Shoenberger, a native of Lancaster county, began the 
manufacture of iron at the Huntingdon furnace, in Franklin town- 
ship, Huntingdon county. Previous to this he was associated with 
Samuel Fahnestock in the Juniata Forge works in 1804. In 1815 
his son. Dr. Peter Shoenberger, succeeded him in the business. The 
history of his difliculties is really the history of the working of iron 
in Middle Pennsylvania. 

One remarkable instance of good fortune in his life will bear nar- 
rating. In 1818 a band of brigands infested Pennsylvania, operat- 
ing in all parts of the State. One of the most daring bands was 
commanded by a desperado known as Robber Lewis. He was a 
daring fellow, but was never known to shed blood, although his fol- 
lowers — Connelly and McGuire — were ready at any time to take 

Dr. Shoenberger had been sending iron in bars to Harper's Ferry 
and was soon to cross the mountain to get his pay. This became 
known to Lewis and his men, who determined to wajday and rob 
the doctor. The sum to be collected amounted to about $13,000, a 
very important item. Unless he could bring it safely to Bellefonte 
by a certain time his paper must go to protest and his credit be for- 
ever ruined. 

Lewis and his followers expected the doctor to come from Har- 
per's Ferry to Baltimore, and thence by way of the old post road — 
now the Baltimore pike — to Pittsburg. To make sure, he and his 
coadjutors rede to Philadelphia and stopped in the most lawless 
portion of the city. Here Lewis and his followers met Ann Carson, 
a prominent character, and her associates and assembled to plan the 
robbery of Shoenberger. Their first plan was to meet the doctor 
near Havre de Grace. While they were debating in their rendez- 
vous news came that their victim had abandoned the lower route 
and would return home by way of the Cumberland Yalley and Har- 
risburg. The party took to their horses just in time to escape a 
raid made on their quarter by John Hart, then High Constable of 

When Lewis and his associates had reached Harrisburg, they 
learned that the doctor had been warned of his danger, and again 
changed his route. The highwaymen knew the country well, and 
succeed in getting in advance of their intended prey. In the early 


moruiug, east of Bellefonte,the doctor found himself confronted by 
a large man on horseback, who, with pistol in hand, called on him 
to " stand and deliver." 

Shoenberger's feelings may be imagined. Financial ruin or being 
shot was the alternative presented to him. He reached around in-his 
saddle to unstrap his saddle-bags, which contained the monej^, when 
he heard a shout, and saw the white covers of a Conestoga 
wagon topping the hill. The wagoners were encouraging their 
horses, and in desperation the doctor yelled out, " Men, I am being 
robbed ! help ! help I •" 

Lewis pulled the trigger, but fortunately the old flint only snap- 
ped. Connelly rode up and, but for Lewis, would have killed the 
doctor, A rifle ball from one of the wagoners struck him in the 
shoulder, and under the fire of the wagoners he and Lewis escaped 
to the woods. The doctor was saved. 

Long before this adventure of Doctor Shoenberger's, the old 
Keystone State was in a turmoil over the depredations committed 
by bands of brigands, who were guilty of the most heinous crimes. 
The inhabitants were in constant dread of the attacks of highway- 
men. One of the most thoroughly organized of these was headed 
b}^ Robber Lewis. It seems Robber Lewis did not deserve all the 
condemnatory' reports in circulation about him. Many instances of 
kindness and a disposition to help the needy and distressed, by con- 
tributing to their wants, characterized his career. For these acts 
he never received any credit at the hands of his persecutors. 

In the month of October, 1815, a German named Jacob Simmons 
was crossing the mountains from Bellefonte to Lock Haven, desir- 
ing to get on the direct road to Harrisburg. In those days travel 
was either on foot or by vehicles. Simmons was aware of the bri- 
gands that infested the country, yet he ventured to travel this 
mountainous region alone. He had hoarded up a few hundred dol- 
lars, and was going to Harrisburg to meet a brother who had just 
lauded in this country, and both intended to travel westward to 
better their condition. 

Little did he think he would soon have the supreme pleasure of 
stopping with Robber Lewis and his colleagues. If he did he 
would not have taken his dangerous journey. He had accomplished 
scarcely half of the trip, when the sun began to sink out of sight. 
He had heard of the many depredations and robberies committed 
by Robber Lewis and his daring companions, who were at that time 
invading the country around about. Simmons began to feel uneasy. 


He felt for the leather belt around his waist and, satisfied that his 
money was safe, continued his lonesome journey. The gloom con- 
vinced him that midnight darkness would soon overtake him, and 
he had yet a dozen miles or more to travel. The German became 
almost paralj-zed with fear. Everj^ sound he heard presented a horri- 
fj'ing picture of highwaymen jumping out from behind some tree 
or rock and demanding his mone3\ He resolved to look for shel- 
ter and ask for a night's lodging at the first house he would reach. 
He had traveled only a few hundred j-ards farther, when he discov- 
ered a cabin in the wood by the side of the road. Upon investiga- 
tion he found it to be occupied, and knocked on the rude door. It 
was opened by a man of fine personal appearance, who invited him 
in. In one corner of the cabin was a rude hearth, built of stone, 
upon which blazed a glowing fire. The cheerfulness of the interior 
acted like a magic charm on him. and served to dispel all his fear. 
Robber Lewis and his fearless band could now attack their victims. 
Simmons was all right ; at least he thought so. 

Sitting beside the blazing fire, which lit up the room, the German 
felt safe enough. This was one of Robber Lewis' stopping places. 
Besides himself there were three of his companions in the cabin. 
They were all sitting around the fire enjoying a smoke with their 
pipes, and Simmons was cordially invited to join them. 

The German unfolded himself and related his whole story to them, 
where he had been working, how much money he had, and whither 
he was going; that night had overtaken him, and he was afraid of 
being robbed by highwaj'men, and that he concluded not to go any 
farther, and run the risk of losing his money. They listened with 
interest to his narrative and assured him that he was perfectly wel- 
come, and that no harm would befall him while under their protec- 
tion, for which Jacob thanked them very much. 

During the evening the conversation drifted to various subjects 
and the stories circulated b}- the inhabitants of the surrounding 
countr}', the German very often mentioning the name of Robber 
Lewis and his desperate followers. He referred to the robberies com- 
mitted b}^ the lawless bandits, who were a terror to that section of 
the State, where thej^ made their power felt. The remarks of the 
German caused more than one smile to light up the countenances 
of the robbers during the evening. Before the coterie retired Sim- 
mons was given a bounteous supper hy his host, and all sought rest, 
the German feeling grateful for their taking him in and protecting 
him from the dangers that threatened him should behave continued 
his journey that night. 


"When morning dawned the German descended a rude ladder to 
the room below. To his amazement he beheld a table loaded down 
with man}' of the luxuries of life. How fortunate he was ! lie 
was invited to make a hearty breakfast, as he had many hours 
of travel before him. After he had completed his meal and re- 
gained his lost vitalit}', he started on his journey. Before taking 
his leave, he asked what he owed. " Nothing, sir," was the reply, 
" but you can inform 3'our friends that you stopped with Robber 
Lewis and his colleagues ! " 

After Simmons had been informed by the robber chieftain that he 
could go on his way rejoicing, without an}- fear of being robbed, he 
could hardly express his feelings of gratitude for the kindness re- 
ceived at the hands of his benefactor, who had been painted in his 
mind as a murderer and a destroyer of innocent life. He was much 
surprised to find a different man than had been represented to him. 

Robber Lewis had many good traits, and was never known to 
have shed blood, or to have taken a human life. He invariably 
stole from those who could afford it and gave to the poor. His acts 
of charity will always be commemorable to those who remember 
him. This little instance of Jacob Simmons' is, no doubt, remem- 
bered by many of the residents of Pennsylvania. 

Lewis and his band of outlaws were familiar with every hiding- 
place in the State. There is an old one-story log house in Carlisle, 
Cumberland county, which he and his fearless band frequently oc- 
cupied, and laid plans for all kinds of outlawry. The house is 
standing to-day on South Hanover street, occupied b}' James Mc- 
Gonigal as a tin shop. 

At different times Lewis and his men were forced by the authori- 
ties of Cumberland valley to vacate the old log house. On these 
occasions they would retreat to a cave about a mile from Carlisle, 
on Conodoguinet creek. Here they were safe, as no one had the 
courage to venture far enough into its recesses to reach them. This 
retreat of the bandits was guarded on more than one occasion, but 
the robbers alwa^-s made their escape. It i^ believed there Was a 
secret outlet, known to no one but these outlaws, but it has never 
been discovered. Here it is supposed Lewis and his band stored a 
part of their plunder. The cave has been entered time and again by 
fortune-hunters, but it contains so many passages that the explor- 
ers never met with success and alwaj'S went away disappointed. 

Another retreat for these outlaws is a cave on Little Chickies 
creek, about a mile and a half north of Mt. Joy, Lancaster county. 


This cave has a subterranean entrance which, at the time of these 
outlaws, was never known to anyone else except Robber Lewis and 
his band. It was frequently made use of by him, and it was al- 
ways a mystery to the officers of the law how he made his escape 
from it, A large rock overhung the creek, and the entrance was 
discovered only through accident. The boys of the village were in 
the habit of going in bathing at this point. On one of these occa- 
sions a youth about fifteen jj^ears of age dived down under this 
shelving rock and came up in the cave. He had been missed by his 
companions for some time and they, thinking he was drowned, 
started off to sound the alarm. To their utter consternation he ap- 
peared on the bluff of the hill. He had wandered about in the cave 
until he found the principal entrance, and from that time on this 
same feat has been repeated over and over by many of the coura- 
geous youths of the viHage. Thus a mj'stery has been solved by 
accident that long baffled the authorities, but not until it was too 

Lewis was smart as a steel trap and was considered one of the 
shrewdest of mountaineers. Many of the robberies which he plan- 
ned were carried out with the assistance of his associates. Like all 
men of his kind, he met his fate at last. Shortly after Lewis and 
Connelly had been outwitted in their attempt to rob Dr. Shoen- 
berger, a posse was organized and started in pursuit of the outlaws. 
After a hot chase of two days, they surprised them at Driftwood, 
Pa., when a lively skirmish took place. Connelly was mortail}'' 
wounded, and Lewis was made a prisoner. He was taken to the 
Lock Haven jail, where he died from a wound received in the arm. 
Thus ended the career of a desperate band of outlaws. 

The following was written by H. T. McAlister for the Harrisburg 
Telegraph : 

McAlisterville, Oct. 25. — Editors or Telegraph — Gentlemen : 
My son Stephen has taken your paper for some time past. I am 
an old man of 81 years and read it. I like its political senti- 
ments. I find on an inside sheet a sketch of the robbers Lewis 
and Connelly, and I think that there was a third man, but can't 
name him. This robbery occurred in the year 1817 or 1818, I am 
not sure ; but they came across a drover returning westward on 
horseback from the city, for that was the usual way of traveling 
in those days. This occurred at a place called Sideling Hill. The 
robbers made him dismount. They led him and his horse from the 
road into the woods, tied him to a tree, took the saddle bags, and 


said to him they would go a certain space away and watch him, 
and if he offered to get awa}'^ for a certain time they would shoot 
him, but the drover, whose name I have forgotten, did get loose 
and took another course and got to a house and gave notice, and 
soon the surrounding country was up in arms. The robbers made 
for the Juniata river and, hastening their steps, got to Lewistown 
between sundown and dark. When near Lewistown the}' left the 
road and walked at the edge of the river. It was nearly dark but 
they were seen, and in a couple of hours or later after word came 
to Lewistown of the robbery (at this time Juniata was Mifflin 
county not yet divided), Samuel Edmiston, who was the sheriff 
and a brave, fearless man, gathered a posse of twenty-five or thirty 
men. A hotel about one and a half or two miles below town was 
kept b}^ a man named Bumbaugh. It was supposed these men 
were the robbers, and that the}' would want supper and perhaps 
lodging. Sheriff Edmiston became captain, and every man had to 
obey, which they did very willingly. They went so near and halted, 
and one man was directed to go in carelessly and call for a drink, 
and if possible, without creating suspicion, should learn if the 
strangers were there. He came out and reported to the sheriff. 
They had got their suppers and gone to bed. Edmiston signaled 
for all to close in, surround the house and let no man pass. The 
sheriff chose some half a dozen brave men and slipped up stairs and 
found the robbers all sleeping. "When Lewis awakened he imme- 
diately reached for a weapon, but Edmiston, wide-awake, grasped 
him b}' the throat and compelled him to submit. They were taken 
to Lewistown jail. Lewis said it would not hold him long. The 
sheriff handcuffed him, yet slyly he slipped the cuffs and loosed the 
others, broke jail and escaped. A reward was offered. The rob- 
bers got away out to Clearfield county, and in a clearing one day 
were shooting at a mark. The people everywhere were on the 
lookout for them, and suspecting it was them, armed themselves 
and came upon them, but the robbers resolved to fight, which they 
did till one of them was badl}' wounded. They then surrendered 
and were disarmed and imprisoned in another count}', and I then 
loat all knowledge of them after that. His name was David Lewis. 

Our young friend Geo. P. Landis, of Bedford, Pa., furnished us 
with the following : 

Dear Sir: In reply to your letter of recent date, I submit the 
following items regarding Lewis, the robber. I received much in- 
formation from Mr. Valentine Yondersmith,an aged resident of this 


place, and a man well versed in the traditionary lore of Bedford 
county. I have read Judge W. M. Hall's article on Lewis and 
when I give dates they are from that article. He can be depended 
on for matters relating to Bedford couiaty Court. The following is 
an_ abridgement of records of Court quoted by Judge Hall : 

Lewis' first appearance in Bedford county was in 1815, in the fall 
of which year he was arrested for passing counterfeit coin and bank 
notes. The case came up at January Court, but was continued 
until February 13, when he was found guilty. His lawyers were 
Geo. Burd, Esq., and Chas. Huston, Esq., afterward president judge 
of this county and judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. 
The latter filed a motion in arrest of judgment on February 20. 
February 22, Lewis was sentenced to pay a fine of $1 and be im- 
prisoned in jail for ten hours. At this same term (February, 1816) 
of Court there were four indictments against him for passing coun- 
terfeit bank notes, on one of which he was found not guilty, but to 
pay the costs ; on two of which nolle prosequi were entered, and on 
the other indictment Lewis was found guilty as to three counts and 
not guilty as to fourth. This was February 17. Lewis was sen- 
tenced on this indictment to six months in the penitentiar}^ at Phil- 
adelphia. A writ of error to Supreme Court was filed, but Septem- 
ber 4, 1816, the sentence of the lower Court was affirmed. In the 
meantime David Lewis had escaped from the Bedford jail, how, is 
not known. 

Mr. y. Yondersmith tells me that in 1819, near Mcllvane's, 
eighteen miles east of Bedford, on the Chambersburg and Pittsburg 
turnpike, Lewis, Connelly and Hanson stopped and robbed a mer- 
chant named McClelland, of Pittsburg, wiio was on his way from 
that city with, it was stated, $1,800, to deposit in Philadelphia. 
Connelly wanted to kill McClelland, saying, " dead men tell no 
tales," but Lewis, who was the acknowledged leader of the gang, 
said he would not shed blood. He then gave McClelland a few dol- 
lars and sent him on his way. For this robbery Lewis, Connelly 
and Hanson were arrested and thrown into Bedford jail. 

This from Judge Hall, being a cop3^ of court record. 

" In the Court of Oyer and Terminer of Bedford county, Penn- 
sylvania, before the Honorable Chas Huston, President Judge, and 
Abraham Martin, Associate Judge." 


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 1 No. 3. 

January Term, 1820. 

David Lewis, John M. Connelly and James 

"Indictment for robbery. A true bill January 7, 1820. James 
Hanson being arraigned pleads not guilty. Jury called, etc., who 
find defendant guilty. Sentence 7 years in the penitentiary in 
Philadelphia. April 24, 1820, process awarded to Cumberland 
county for the arrest of David Lewis and John M. Connelly, re- 
turned non sunt inventV^ 

Commonwealth op Pennsylvania ] No. 5. 

vs. 1 January Term, 1820. 

David Lewis, John M. Connelly, James 
Hanson, Thomas Williams, John Mc- 
Curdy and Ethelstone Scott. 

" Indictment for breaking jail ; Lewis and Connelly not taken. 
The other defendants convicted and sentenced." 

It is certain then, as Mr. Voudersmith says, that they broke jail. 
His story is as follows: 

" One morning, shortly after their arrest, the jailer, Eli Eichert, 
entered Lewis' cell, leaving the key in the door. While the jailer 
was busy Lewis slipped out, locked him in the cell, opened the 
doors for the other prisoners and all got out except one, who re- 
fused to leave. Lewis and Connelly made their waj^ out of the 
county and were never in it again. Hanson and the others named 
in the indictment were captured. 

" The two robbers made their way into Cumberland county b}' 
Doubling Gap, and after spending a few da3^s in that county and 
afterwards in York and Adams they returned to Cumberland 
county and tried to rob the house of Mr. Besoreat Bridgeport, near 
the camel-back bridge. Lewis was arrested but Connelly got away. 
This was in April, 1820. Lewis was lodged in Carlisle jail and, as in 
indictment given above, process for arrest was awarded to Cumber- 
land county without avail. From Carlisle Lewis was transferred 
to Chambersburg, the jail there being a stronger one; this jail was 



Birtli and Parentage — Enlisted in the U. S. Army — Tries to Decamp — Is 
Court-martialed — Sentenced to Death — A Mother's Petition Saved his Life 
— Reprieved and Sentenced to Imprisonment — By a Strategem he Eludes 
the Vigilance of the Sentinel and Escapes — Hides in a Cave near Carlisle — 
Resolves to Leave for Safer Quarters — Arrives at Bellefonte — Becomes a 
Counterfeiter — Is Arrested and Lodged in the Troy, N. Y., Jail — Woman's 
Perfidy — Woman's Weakness — Escapes — Runs off with a Silly Young 
Girl — Marries Her — His Dissertation on Society — Goes to Nevr York City 
— Meets a Yankee Peddler — Is Advised to go to Pennsylvania as the Peo- 
ple of this State are " Easy to be Imposed Upon." 


O ! Reputation ! dearer far than life ; 

Thou precious balsam, lovely, sweet of smell ; 

Whose cordial drops once spilt by some rash hand, 

Not all the owner's care, nor the repenting toil 

Of the rude spiller can ever collect, 

To its first purity, its native sweetness. 

I WAS born in Carlisle, in the County of Cumberland, Pennsyl- 
vania, on the 4th clay of March, Anno Domini 1790, of poor pa- 
rents, of respectable connections, but whose precarious means of 
subsistence and consequent devotion of their time to satisfy the more 
urgent necessities of life, left them little leisure to pay that atten- 
tion to a numerous family of children which is at all times neces- 
sar}^ to their welfare in this world and salvation in the world to 
come. Of course I grew up, as most boys in such situations do, 
without regard for men and little fear of God. 

In 1193 my father removed with his family to Northumberland 
count}^ and was appointed a Deputy District Surveyor, in which 
situation he continued several years, but was unfortunate in the 
many collisions arising out of his official conduct, and his affairs 
were but little mended for the better, when he died, leaving the 
family illy provided for, and my education was of course very 

I continued to live with my mother, and occasionally job for the 


neighboring farmers, until the year 1807, when I left her, and after 
being employed in several occupations enlisted with a recruiting 
party at Bellefonte, but shortly afterwards, the sergeant undertak- 
ing to have me "cobbed " for a petty offense, I ran away and left 
them. Some montlis afterwards I enlisted as a private in Capt. 
Wm. N. Irvine's * company of Light Artillery, in the service of 
the United States, under a feigned name, using that of Armstrong 
Lewis, and was accordingly so called, mustered and enrolled. I 
had before this tasted of the bitter sweets of pleasure and dissi- 
pation and intending to decamp the first opportunity, determined 
upon suppl3'ing my pocket with the bounty money, to enable me 
to indulge in my old excesses, for which I had imbibed a strong 
relish and was naturally very fond of. But many obstacles hap- 
pening to frustrate my plan, a scheme came into my head of trj'ing 
to avail myself of the "quirks and quibbles" of the law, and with 
this view I applied to a lawyer in Carlisle, where I was now sta- 
tioned, who giving me every encouragement to proceed, I sued 
out a writ and after a tedious hearing before Judge Creigh,'|' found 
the hopes which my lawyer had raised disappointed ; the Judge 
decided against me and I was again remanded into service. This 
affair leading to an enquiry into mj" life and conduct, it was dis- 
covered that I had enlisted once before under my proper name and 
had deserted. At that period the rumor of a war with England, 
which had prevailed for some time, began to increase and grow 
louder, and the oflScers of the army becoming moi'e rigorous in their 

* Captain Irvine probably was the young lawyer of whom the following 
record is made in Dr. Wing's History of Cumberland County : "On the 
5th day of December, 1800, a complaint is made to the Court by Thomas 
Duncan, Esq., stating that Frederick John Haller, Esq., a member of the 
Bar, had, on the evening of the tirst of Decembei-, in open court, behaved 
in an indecent and disorderly manner to Wm. N. Irvine, a young gentle- 
man reading law under the direction of Mr. Duncan. There aie several 
depositions, one of which reads : ' That on the afternoon of the 3d of De- 
cember the deponent was present in court sitting near to Wm. N. Irvine 
and Frederick J. Haller, and heard Frederick J. Haller say that some per- 
son was an ordinary looking fellow. Wm. N. Irvine said that he did not 
look worse than he'did himself. Frederick Haller then told Mr. Irvine that 
he must look a great deal better than he did — and further the deponent 
says not.' Ho much only in regard to the appearance of these rival beauties; 
but it was further certified that ]Mr. Haller had called ^Ir. Irvine an ' im- 
pudent young puppy.' Whereupon the Court did 'suspend the said Fred- 
erick John Haller from practising law as an attorney in the Court of Com- 
mon' Pleas aforesaid.' Mr. Haller was reinstated in .March Term, 1801." 
The History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, issued in 1886, referring 
to the "Carlisle Light Infantry," does not give the name of Captain Irvine 
among the list of the several captains. 

f Hon. John Creigh, Associate Judge of Cumberland County. 


discipline, and strict in the execution of the rules and articles of 
war, it was considered a duty which they owed their country, to 
have me arrested on the serious charges of desertion and double 

A General Court-martial was accordingly organized, under the 
direction of Gen. James Wilkinson, who at that time was stationed 
at the Carlisle Barracks, and the result was such as my foreboding 
fears and consciousness of guilt had anticipated. The evidence 
was positive — I was found guilty of the charges and ordered to 
undergo the ignominious punishment which the law inflicts. 

Young in years and young in crime, the sentence of death was 
not communicated to me without producing the most agonizing 
sensations, arising out of a fear of an awful hereafter and the love 
of life. Besides I had an aged mother, to whom I was fondly at- 
tached by the ties of natural afi'ection, and it pained me to the soul 
to think that the ignominious death of a beloved son must embitter 
the evening of her life and bring down her gray hairs with sorrow 
to the grave. Through the intercession of a friend I was permitted 
the use of pen, ink and paper, to write to my poor mother who 
lived in Centre county. I informed her of my distressed and peri- 
lous situation, and besought her to use her influence in my behalf. 
I waited for some time in dreadful suspense and counted the lin- 
gering days with great anxiety, until my ears were at length greeted 
with the cheering intelligence "your mother is come." Gen. Wil- 
kinson, whose character for humanity is already well known, freely 
granted us a private interview and the afflicted mother embraced 
her unhappy son, in solemn silence, without either of us being able 
to speak a word for some time. She reproached me not, but the 
silent rebuke of her heart-searching eye spoke daggers to my soul. 
After some time she informed me that Judge Walker, of whose 
goodness and humanity she spoke in the highest terms, had loaned 
her his horse and written letters in her behalf to some friends he 
had in Carlisle, to interest themselves for me. 

My mother had brought with her the family record, to prove my 
age, and which she delivered to Andrew Carothers and James 
Duncan, Esqs., my attorneys, who made every exertion to procure 
my release under the minor act. But Judge Hamilton* decided 

* Judge James Hamilton was of Irish extraction. He was considered an 
excellent lawyer and was a tolerable speaker. In 1806 he was appointed 
President Judge of this Judicial District, in which position he continued 
until his death, in 1819. 


that tlie civil power had no jurisdiction to intorfere with the sen- 
tence of a Court-martial, and I was again remanded to the military 
authority. Eventually, owing to the humane exertions of many 
worthy individuals, and the generous sentiments which filled the 
noble breast of Gen. Wilkinson, I was reprieved, and my sentence 
commuted to imprisonment. 

I was now thrown into the guard house, fettered and chained, 
and the time for which I was to be confined being indefinite, I was 
vei-y uneas}^ and ver}^ unhappy. After a week's painful trial of 
these miseries the irons were all taken off me save a heavy chain, 
which was fastened to my ankle, and to one end of which was afifixed 
a cannon ball weighing between thirty and forty pounds. B}' the 
aid of a Barlow knife which I hacked on the bars of my prison 
window, I succeeded in sawing the chain in such a manner that I 
could, when a favorable opportunity occurred, break it off and make 
my escape. By lifting a plank in the floor I had contrived to get into 
the cellar of the building, but not being able to get out of the cel- 
lar without much trouble and digging, I returned and replaced the 
plank. Sometimes for exercise and to amuse myself I would lay 
the chain and clog aside and throw somersaults on the floor, &c., 
which I was no wise careful to conceal from the soldier who stood 
sentry over me, who was much delighted with my exhibitions of 
agility. And he gave himself little ti*ouble about whether the chain 
was on or off, so that I passed examination in the morning with 
the sergeant. I had also taken so much pains to ingratiate myself 
in his good opinion, that he appeared to place the most unlimited 
confidence in me, and one day having occasion to go out, he did 
not care to accompany me as usual, when I embraced the opportu- 
nity to bid farewell to him and the camp forever. 

Having succeeded by this stratagem in eluding the vigilance of 
the sentinel, my whole mind and thoughts were occupied in making 
ray escape secure. In my occasional rambles from the Barracks, I 
had been to visit the remarkable * cave near Carlisle, and consider- 
ing that this place would afford a safe retreat, I accordingly steered 
my course for it. My mind being much agitated by alternate hopes 
and fears, I was unable at the time to fix upon any ultimate course 
of conduct. The prospect of an escape engrossed my whole atten- 
tion, and my greatest anxiety was to reach the destined place of 
my retreat by the nearest way. In doing this I was under the ne- 

* A minute description of this remarkable cave is given in Chapter I. 


cessit}' to cross the race, which supplies with water the mill below. 
Running at full speed and endeavoring to clear the stream at one 
leap, mj' foot slipped and I fell against a rock which projected from 
the opposite bank. As soon as I recovered myself from this mis- 
hap, which was attended with no other consequence than a slight 
sprain of one my ankles, I proceeded in my flight as speedily as I 
could and arrived at the mouth of the cave just as the setting sun 
was shedding its last beam upon the waters of the winding Cono- 
doguinet. I lost no time in entering, and without the aid of candle 
or torch, made my way as well as I could to the farthest corner of 
this dark and dismal place, the abode and habitation of the bat. I 
crept on my hands and knees through a small crevice, until I found 
myself in a place called the '• Devil's Dining Room," and there I re- 
mained in great trepidation and anxiety until, as near as I can re- 
collect, about the hour of ten o'clock at night, when the cravings 
of a hungrj^ stomach demanded that I should make some exertions 
to suppl}' the wants of nature. The danger of immediate apprehen- 
sion having subsided, owing to the late hour and a supposition that 
if any person had been sent in pursuit they would not care to travel 
after night, I determined on leaving the cave, and accordingly 
crossed the fording below ; and pursuing a direction for the gap in 
the mountain, it was not long before the barking of an angry dog 
convinced me that I was near a house. As soon as I came oppo- 
site, I resolved upon making an experiment on the hospitality of 
the owner, and accordingly knocked with a loud rap at the door. 
All being quiet and still, it appeared that the family had retired for 
the night, and it was not until I had made repeated attempts that 
I succeeded in making myself heard. The first noise that saluted 
my ears was the raising of a small window above, when I observed 
the head of some person surrounded with a red flannel night cap, 
and from the shrillness of the voice that demanded " who's there ? " 
I immediately' perceived that it was a female. After some parley 
she at length agreed to descend and let me in. I found that I was 
not disappointed in my expectation of procuring a supper, and my 
kind hostess on being made acquainted with m}^ wants immediately 
went on to prepare it. I assisted her in kindling the fire, and be- 
fore the lapse of twenty minutes partook of the repast with a better 
appetite and as much joy, as ever a conquering General, or member 
of Congress or a Judge sat down to a public banquet. My fare 
consisted of fried sausages, bread and butter, a cup of milk, and the 
biggest end of a Yankee cheese. I did great justice to the kindness 


of this good woman, and having indulged myself in eating with a 
freedom that I afterwards repented of, I was invited to ascend the 
ladder into the loft, where I was furnished with a bed and lodgings 
for the remainder of the night. Whether it was owing to the 
effects of the cheese or the sausages, I have ever since been unable 
to determine, but certain it is, that never was a night spent in so 
disagreeable a manner, with retchings, sickness of the stomach and 

Being afraid to expose m3-self in a place so public in open day, I 
took ray departure about four o'clock in the morning, without bid- 
ding adieu or returning thanks to my landlady, of whom I began to 
entertain suspicious thoughts and recall to my mind the many 
stories I had heard of " poisoned cheese " and " colt sausages." 
After winding my way for some distance through the woods, I 
ascended the top of the Blue Mountain, about sunrise, and avoiding 
the great roads as much as possible, I pursued my journey towards 
the residence of m}- mother in Centre county, after experiencing 
many a hungry belly and sleepless night. I arrived at m}' mother's 
much fatigued, and entering the house just as the family were pre- 
paring to rake up the embers of a dying fire and retire to rest, ac- 
costed the old lady before I was recognized by an 3^ of mj' brothers 
or sisters ; I could easily perceive that whilst the beam of joy played 
in her eye at seeing me again, it was evident the thorn of sorrow 
was planted in her heart, lest it might involve me in fresh difficul- 
ties and ti'oubles. I remained with mj' mother's family some time, 
and was almost persuaded to settle and become industrious and 
sober, but my rambling disposition predominated and for the sake 
of compan}^ and amusement I paid occasional visits to this town 
(Bellefonte). I frequented the taverns for the sake of sport and 
to drown, in the society of loungers which are always to be found 
in the bar-rooms of a country inn, the compunctions of conscience 
with which I was at that time occasionally visited, and although I 
was, previous to this, guilty of many juvenile indiscretions and petty 
oflences, I never contemplated embarking in those dangerous and 
unlawful enterprises which unhappil}^ distinguish the remainder 
of my career. I here discovered, through the medium of the news- 
papers and other sources of information, that the people of the in- 
terior had resolved to establish country' banks, and from the num- 
ber which then existed, young and ignorant as I was, I foresaw that 
while such a measure would terminate in the ruin of society, it 
would tend to facilitate the views of counterfeiters, and open a door 


for carr}' ing on extensive schemes of fraud on the ignorant and 
weak part of the community. Unluckily for me, I one day hap- 
pened to fall in company with one of those tin peddlers or Yankee 
cart men, who at that time were very numerous all over the country, 
and who showed me a large quantity of bank bills, purporting to be 
issued from sundry banks at Philadelphia and elsewhere, and which 
he said he obtained at Burlington, in the State of Vermont, at a 
ver}^ low rate, and that he could make an independent fortune in a 
very short time, provided he had any person upon whom he could 
depend, to aid and assist him in their circulation. Being induced 
b}'' the flattering prospect thus held out, I accompanied him to Bur- 
lington, where I was introduced to this manufacturing association, 
and soon became initiated into all the mysteries of the fraternity. 
With a mind bent on unholy gain I soon became an adept at the 
business, and received from them for distribution and circulation a 
considerable amount of spurious notes. 

After leaving Burlington with m^'^ part of the common stock, and 
finding that the Vermontese were too much like their ancestors, the 
Yankees, to permit a "green hand " like me to ivnpose upon their 
credulity, I considered my wisest plan was to make my way into 
New York and Pennsylvania ; as I knew that in the latter State a 
great portion of the population consisted of Germans, who, while 
they are upright and honest themselves, are unsuspecting of the 
villainies of others. In New York, I met with considerable success 
in passing and exchanging my counterfeit money, but crime not 
always prospering or escaping detection, I was discovered in an 
unlucky bargain which I had concluded with a certain Gen. Root, 
who was then on an electioneering camioaign, and who had invited 
me to crack a bottle of wine with him to the health and success of 
Gov. Daniel D. Tompkins. Having taken a fancy to one of the 
Genei'al's horses, and finding him rather soft in the head we soon 
struck a bargain, and I paid him principally in my Burlington 
notes. In attempting to repass some of these bills the General was 
taken up, and being in a place where he was entirely unknown was 
on the eve of being committed for trial, when a citizen who had 
seen him receive the notes, went bail for his appearance, and ac- 
companied the General in his pursuit of me. Not expecting an im- 
mediate detection, I had retired in the evening to enjoy myself in 
one of those houses which are generally to be found in the outskirts 
of towns, and kept by frail fair ones as " decent establishments,'' 
for the accommodation of strangers and others. The General and 


his companion found me after a diligent seareli comfortably laid up 
in snug quarters for the night, and instantlj'' hurried me off to a 
. magistrate, who made out my commitment, and I soon found my- 
self lodged in the jail of Troy. I lay here some weeks and had 
very gloomy prospects, when reflecting on the result of my trial, 
which was to come on in about a month, but soon began to flatter 
myself with a prospect of escape, through the agency' of the daugh- 
ter of the jailer, who in her father's absence introduced to m}^ room 
a 3'oung woman who was an intimate friend of hers, and who I had 
often remarked gazing through the bars of my window from the 
house opposite, and who was apparently much interested in my fate. 
The sentiments of pity which at first warmed the bosom of this 
tender hearted young woman, soon ripened into love, and after a 
short courtsliip, I prevailed upon her to assist me in escaping under 
a promise of marriage. 

To effect this desirable object, every necessary preparation was 
made, and agreeably to previous arrangements, my kind friend, the 
jailer's daughter, /or^/o^ to lock the door of the prison apai'tment, 
in which I was confined. After she had brought in my usual allow- 
ance, one Sunday evening, when the rest of the famih' and most of 
the town had gone to church, to hear a new preacher whose name 
I do not recollect, I seized the favorable opportunit}^ and without 
hindrance left the prison. I found the j'oung woman who had con- 
sented to accompany me, waiting with great anxiety at the extrem- 
ity' of the street that leads to Albany. Neither of us were in a 
mood for much conversation, and we immediately hurried towards 
that city, after agreeing that both should change our names, she 
to assume the name of" Melinda," while I was to use that of Yan 
BuREN, the patronymic of an ancient Dutch family, who had emi- 
grated from Holland, and settled at an early period in the province 
of New York. My female companion experienced all the terrors 
which usuall}^ accompany the most timid of the sex, when placed 
in a similar situation. The constant dread of being pursued by her 
friends and overtaken ; the regret at forsaking the house and pro- 
tection of a widowed mother; the circumstance of her elopement 
with a stranger, of whose character she was perfectl}' ignorant, and 
whose face she never had seen, until she saw him through the bars 
of a prison window, all tended to alarm lier fears for the present, 
and excite her apprehensions for the future. We had not proceeded 
in our flight more than five miles before I discovered from her agi- 
tated manner, her stifled sighs, and suffocated breathing, that she 


repented of the rash step she had taken. A dead silence prevailed, 
and neither of us spoke one word for at least half an hour, when all 
at once she stopped suddenly, burst into tears, threw off her bonnet, 
tore her hair, and uttered the most frantic expressions, exclaiming 
repeatedly, " Oh ! m}' mother 1 mj' poor mother ! what will become 
of my mother! " My heart was not callous to the distresses of 
others, and the sight of a woman in tears, more especially one who 
had so strong an attachment to me, could not fail to soften my own 
feelings, and produce a shower of tears nearly as plenteous as her 
own. As soon as I subdued this violent expression of sensibility, 
I used every argument in my power to assuage her grief and mod- 
erate her passion, and at length succeeded in pacifying her by re- 
newing my promise of marriage, which I supported by repeated 
oaths of sincerity and many horrid imprecations and curses on my 
own head, if I did not fulfil it in the most honorable manner, the 
first opportunity that offered. Having in a measure composed Me- 
linda's perturbed mind, and painted in glowing colors the paradis- 
aical enjoj'ments of "married " life, which possesses such powerful 
attractions in the romantic imagination of a young girl of sixteen, 
we recommenced our journey, and proceeded without interruption, 
until we had walked nearly ten miles further, when my " way-worn 
traveler " began to complain of blistered feet, fatigue and weari- 
ness ; expressing her wish that we should put up for the remainder 
of the night. I could not resist her earnest entreaties, and not- 
withstanding the dangers of a successful pursuit, the next farm we 
came to furnished us, in one of its out-houses, with a safe retreat, and 
the means of repose on some buckwheat straw, which I had gathered 
for the purpose in an adjacent barn yard. My companion in flight 
(for so I then considered her, having as yet no legal right to use the 
appellation " wife "), soon threw herself on these hard lodgings, and 
so much was she overpowered with the exercise of travel, that not- 
withstanding her agitation of spirit, she instantly sunk into the em- 
brace of sleep. She continued to enjoy " heaven's sweet restorer, 
balm}^ sleep," for about four hours, and did not awake until the loud 
and shrill notes of a noisy, troublesome rooster, who had perched 
on a neighboring tree, proclaimed the near approach of morning by 
his repeated crowing — the sure, unerring harbinger of day. 

Shortl}^ after she awoke from this refreshing slumber, we prepared 
to commence our journey anew, and continued with a slow, but con- 
stant gait, through circuitous by-roads and unfrequented paths, 
until we reached Albany in the evening, just as the city clock had 


struck seven. Not forgetting the promise of marriage, which I had 
contracted in the most solemn manner, and made under circum- 
stances that required more hardihood of villainy to break, than I 
possessed at the worst period of m}' life, I immediately bespoke of 
the landlord of the house at which we put up, a private apartment, 
and went in search of a minister, who soon made his appearance, 
and performed the ceremony in a mean and shabby tavern at the 
extremity of State street. As soon as the service was over, I pre- 
pared to pay the minister his fee, and having mixed my good and 
bad money together, I unfortunately presented him, through mis- 
take, with one of my ten dollar counterfeit Burlingtons, but the 
generous man, much to my surprise, objecting to the largeness of 
the proffered gratuity, returned the note and refused in the most 
positive terms to accept of more than two dollars, which I instantly 
handed him in silver, which at that time had began to grow some- 
what scarce. 

Melinda now appeared for the first time to wear a more cheerful 
countenance than she had done since her elopement. The perform- 
ance of my marriage promise had satisfied her scrupulous delicacj^ 
and removed a heav}' weight of anxiety and distress, which seemed 
to press upon her spirits. 

It was evident, until this took place, that her chaste mind filled 
with fears and doubts of mj' sincerity, and suspected me of base 

Qpgjo'ns ^ ^ 5fc ^ 7^ 5(c :^ ^ :}c sjc 

The fact is, I entertained for Melinda as pure a passion as ever 
warmed the breast of man ; the lovel}' girl not onl}- had won my 
affections, but she had completely secured my gratitude and gained 
my confidence. Although vicious mj'self, I respected and admired 
virtue in her, and had I only followed her excellent advice, and 
profited by the instruction which repeatedly fell from her lips, I 
would not be languishing in jail upon the bed of death, as I now 
am, ashamed to live, and yet afraid to die. Melinda possessed 
every mental endowment and personal charm to attract the virtu- 
ous ; and had she not been so unfortunate as to meet with me, be- 
fore years and experience had matured her judgment, she would, no 
doubt, have made a happier marriage with a more worthy man, and 
become the mother of children proud to acknowledge their father, 
instead of being ashamed to own the author of their being. Her 
pleasing person, her light and flowing hair, the brightness of a 
complexion that equalled in whiteness the new fallen snow, the rose 
of beauty and the bloom of youth that mantled her cheek, and, 


above all, the expression of a blue eye, vying for mildness with an 
April sky, moistened as it was with the dew of heavenly' charity, 
and shaded with the longest eye-lash I ever beheld, were sufficient 
to captivate a man whose heart was less warm than mine. But des- 
tiny had wedded her to ruin when she became my wife. Alas ! she 
merited a better fate, and what aggravates my present agony of feel- 
ing, is the distressing thought, that an unchai'icable world inay visit 
the iniquities of the husband and of the father upon his desolate 

But that 1 maj^ not digress too far, let me now resume my narra- 
tive of the more important incidents. 

We remained at Albanj'^ the night on which we were married, and 
in the morning I imparted to my wife a short history of my past 
life, taking care to conceal from her knowledge the most criminal of 
my adventures, while I only communicated such facts as I consid- 
ered necessary for her information, that the course of life in which 
I was engaged demanded on her part the utmost secrecy, as well 
as good management and ingenuity, to prevent a disclosui-e of my 
guilty conduct, which inevitably would bring down disgrace and 
ruin on m}' head, and blast the future prospects of us both. The 
explanation I gave could not fail to shock her sensibility, wound 
her pride, and alarm her fears. Until this disclosure was made, I 
succeeded in making her believe that mj^ commitment for the horse 
affair at Troy was a conspiracy between Root and his accomplices, 
and that the combination thus formed and carried on between them, 
to charge me with this offence, was called a prosecution under color 
of law, but was, in reality, nothing short of a persecution against 
all law, or rather justice, originating in political revenge for my re- 
fusing to support the election of Governor Tompkins. 

The love of imitation, the force of example, and the influence of 
association, possess a great and wonderful agency in fixing the 
principles, forming the character, and determining the views, the 
prospects and the destinies of men. Societies, whether large or 
small, are necessarily composed of individuals, and these individ- 
uals depend on one another in a greater or less degree, not only for 
the means of subsistence and mutual support, but also for moral 
and religious instruction, for political information, and for all the 
tender offices of charity, benevolence and friendship. Although I 
had been deprived of the advantages of a good education in my 
-youth, nature had been more kind and bountiful than T deserved, 
and favored me with more abilities and talents than I ever made 
good use of. Hence I had not long mingled in society before I had 


attained mauhood and began to make my observations upon " men 
and things," before I perceived how useful were a few good men in 
a neighborhood or even in the same town, and what a wonderful 
effect tlieir precept and example, and more particularly the latter, 
had upon the morals, manners, sentiments, and characters of their 
neighbors, and indeed all whose happy lot was cast within the 
sphere of their knowledge or action, while at the same time I was 
equall3- struck with the injurious effects produced upon society by 
" bad men," whose vicious examples had a pernicious tendency to 
wound public virtue, and destroy' private integrity, corrupting like 
the " poison tree of Java " every moral principle, that came within 
the reach of contact, or imbibed the influence of its deleterious 
effluvia. I also remarked that the danger of bad examples in- 
creased or diminished in proportion to the conspicuous situations 
in life in which the persons might happen to move, from whom they 
proceeded, and that the ratio of influence derived an additional ac- 
cession from the circumstance of their holding a high or exalted 
public station or office, and more especially one in the "' gift " of 
the people. Crime begets crime, and one crime furnishes an apol- 
ogy for another, and must continue to do so as long as public opin- 
i^ou continues to whitewash guilt, and guilt rides triumphantly into 
office and power upon the shoulders of popular favor or political 
prejudice. The poor, unhappy, ignorant and wicked highwa3'man, 
who is viewed as an "outcast" from society', and an outlaw from 
justice, never hears of a man in office plundering the people, rob- 
bing the treasury, or swindling the stockholders of a bank, without 
having his mind more and more familiarized with vice, and feeling 
a new encouragement from the force of example to persist in his 
career. While I speak of m^'self, I judge of the feelings of others 
from my own; and can truly, most truly declare, that such were 
my sentiments at the time, and that I never read in the public 
newspapers or heard of a breach of public trust, without mailing a 
comparison favorable to the life and calling of the highway robber. 
But to return to my story. Shortly after an early breakfast, I set 
out again on foot, accompanied by my wife, for the city of New 
York, which, from its crowded population, and extensive mercantile 
enterprise, I expected would afford me a more secure hiding place 
from pursuit, and be a more profitable theatre for my schemes and 
plots. After walking about five niiles through fields and cow-paths 
in the woods, I consulted with Melinda, and we both concluded 
upon returning to the high road, with the expectation of meeting 
some Yankee wagon, with which every part of the country at that 


time abounded, and to procure from its owner a conveyance for my 
wife, who was not able to travel far on foot, or undergo the fatigues 
of such a journey in the distressing state in which her feet were, on 
account of blisters. 

Besides, I discovered that in coming from Troy to Albany, we 
had traveled three times the real distance, owing to our pursuing 
a winding and circuitous route to avoid pursuit and apprehension. 
Luckily we had not gone more than a mile before we overtook a cart 
loaded with New England wares, bending its way straight for New 
York. Finding the owner to be a very pleasant man and very ac- 
commodating, I soon struck a bargain with him, and, providing 
Melinda with as comfortable a seat as the vehicle afforded, I joined 
nay new companion on foot, and endeavored to beguile the tedious 
time in familiar conversation, and customar}^ inquiries about vari- 
ous uninteresting matters. I found " brother Jonathan " shrewd, 
intelligent and full of anecdote. During my short residence in 
Vermont, I had acquired a number of cant expressions peculiar to 
the Yankees, and affecting as much as possible the New England 
dialect, succeeded without much difficulty in making him believe I 
was a native of Vermont, and was born at the foot of the Green 

I endeavored to sift him as much as possible, and as he was full 
of schemes and notions, as are most of his countrymen, tried to ob- 
tain from him all the information he possessed. After gaining his 
confidence, I was very near exchanging with him some of my Bur- 
lington notes, when all at once he suddenly declined the bargain ; 
but what occasioned this unexpected change of mind, whether he 
began to entertain suspicions of me or had some other reason, I 
could not learn. During our conversation, I recollect he dissuaded 
me from going into any part of the New England States, alleging 
that the Yankees had sharpers enough of their own, and but few 
instances occurred of a Scotchman, a Jew, or any person south of 
Connecticut, who ever made out to thrive or do well by removing 
to any part of that country. He then advised me strongly to re- 
move into Pennsylvania, where a great portion of the population 
were credulous, ignorant, unsuspicious, and easy to be imposed 
upon. He laughed quite immoderately when he told me, that his 
traveling brethren made out better in that State than any other in 
the Union, and diverted me exceedingly by repeating the many 
tricks and various modes of cunning practised by them upon the 
unwary, adding, that among themselves they called it lifting Ger- 
many^ when their plans succeeded and their tricks escaped detection. 



Arrives in New York City— Predatory Partnership— Restless Conscience— 
The Solemn Oath-Bound Pledge Written with Blood— Relieves ^Irs. John 
Jacob Astor of Her Velvet Bag— On which Account He Gets into Trouble 
with His Pals and Leaves the Society— Rescues a Young Lady from the 
Clutches of a Demon— Moves to New Brunswick, N. J.— Visits Princeton 
College— Expects to Find Empty Heads and Full Purses— And Succeeds 
Admirably— Advice to Parents Not to Furnish Money too Freely to the 
Youth at College— Visits Philadelphia— Tries His Game on Stephen 
Girard, but Fails— Goes to Join the Army— Meets With Bad Associates- 
Drives a Team— "A War of Proclamations "—Returns to Pennsylvania- 
Hears of the Death of His Wife— Is Almost Persuaded to Abandon His 
Criminal Career. 

A FTER journeying some daj^s we at length arrived at New York 
-^^ about dusk, and took up our lodgings for the night at the 
New England hotel, the usual stopping place for Yankee cart-men. 
The next day I procured a room in a small house up an alley that 
leads into Pearl street, the great resort of merchants, and which 
from its narrowness and extensive business aiforded, as I thought, 
better opportunities for " my trade " than any other. 

I had not long remained in New York, before, in my midnight 
rambles through the city, I formed an acquaintance with several 
persons of the same principles, habits, and characters as my own. 
Our views coinciding, the acquaintance soon grew into intimacy, 
and after a few interviews, a week had not elapsed before we ex- 
changed the " oath of fidelity and secrecy," and entered into firm 
articles of a predatory partnership. The names of my associates 
I think it unnecessary and improper to divulge. Some have paid 
the debt of nature, others are now suffering for their crimes in the 
penitentiary ; and two of them have lately discovered such evidence 
of reformation by abandoning their former practices, and pursuing 
an honest and industrious course of life, that I am of opinion the 
disclosure might do society no good and them much harm. 

While my mind is suil'ering all the torments of despair, and my 
body languishes with pain on the bed of sickness, perhaps of death, 
it is impossible for me to recollect at this time, much less to re- 


count the many adventures, thefts and burglaries, the depreda- 
tions, frauds and robberies that were committed and practiced by 
me and the rest of the "gang "during my continuance in this place. 

I look back upon these scenes with horror, and when I reflect on 
the many tricks and strategems we adopted to deceive the " City 
Watch," and the various schemes we successfully made use of to 
overreach and elude the police and vigilance of that great metrop- 
olis, I detest myself and abhor my own conduct as much as my 
greatest enemy can do. The success of our " Pearl street estab- 
lishment " exceeded my most sanguine expectations. The careless- 
ness of domestic servants and shop-boys, in securing the doors and 
windows of dwelling houses and stores, the improper practice of 
keeping front doors unlocked during the nights of performance at 
the theatre, the negligent manner in which the watchmen perform 
their duties, more of whom we found asleep than awake, and some 
of them not unfrequently parading the streets in a state of inebri- 
ety, were propitious cii'cumstances in affording facilities to our mid- 
night operations. The theatre, the battery, the auction rooms, 
hotels, taverns, boarding houses and the wharves were the princi- 
pal places which we haunted with most success, and we often wa}''- 
laid youths and others to great advantage on their return from 
houses, which, alas 1 are but too common, and more frequented than a 
regard to their own health, the peace of families, and the police of 
a well regulated city justify or permit. When after a night thus 
spent I have returned to my room, before daylight had made its ap- 
pearance, and found Melinda enjoying that undisturbed repose in 
sweet sleep, which tranquillity of mind and innocence of conduct 
can only procure, I have again and again repented of my misdeeds 
and resolved to myself that " I would henceforth cease to do evil 
and learn to do well." But all my resolutions were shortlived and 
fallacious ; fallacious however as the}' were, the delusion was pleas- 
ing ; for as long as they lasted, they operated for a time like a weak 
opiate on my bewildered senses, and throwing 'myself on the same 
bed, by the side of my sleeping wife, exhausted nature was some- 
what restored by an uneasy sleep, disturbed with terrific dreams, 
which represented to my disordered and feverish imagination 
the scenes of plunder and danger in which I had lately been en- 

The association which I had formed in New York was governed 
by certain rules and regulations, and to make them more binding 
and appear more solemn, they were written on parchment in ink of 


blood, drawn from our own veins, while we kneeled in a ring or 
circle with our hands mutually clasping each other, and one of the 
band standing in the centre with a basin to receive the red fluid of 
life. According to one of the articles, the fruits of our joint spoli- 
ations were to be divided amongst us at stated and fixed periods — 
and for tliis purpose we proceeded with all the formula of a bank 
direction, having a president, directors, cashier, teller and clerk, and 
so particular were we in providing against deception that one of 
the rules prohibited, under the penalty of expulsion, an^^ member of 
the company from being concerned in burning any of the books, or 
altering any of the entries. The depository of our plunder was denom: 
inated a " vault," and committees of examination were regularly ap- 
pointed to inspect its contents, and report to the company at a general 
meeting. A dividend was declared every Sunday night, just as the 
cock gave his midnight crow. On one of these periodical settle- 
ments a disturbance of a singular nature took place that disgusted 
me a good deal with the fraternity, and occasioned m}' abrupt sep- 
aration from them ; it was this : — During the previous week I at- 
tended the "ladies' auction room," in Broadway, and had been very 
successful in picking up and concealing the velvet reticule of a lady, 
who had made considerable purchases of some rare and exj^ensive 
articles of female ornaments and dress, principally of French man- 
ufacture, such as Brussels lace and jewehy. I had taken my stand 
on the opposite side of the street, and lounged about until eleven 
o'clock, when a handsome equipage stopped, and I saw a lady de- 
scend and enter the room. I immediately recognized her to be the 
wife of John Jacob Astor, Esquire, one of the richest merchants in 
the city, and who, report said, was very liberal in his presents of 
money to supply madame's pin-money establishment ; I soon, 
crossed over, and, dressed like a " gentleman in true dandy style," 
the sure passport of admittance into female society, entered the 
auction room and saluted the ladies with all the graceful ease of an 
old acquaintance. The experienced salesman, knowing that the 
best plan for picking a lady's purse was to dazzle her eyes, soon 
exhibited to the view of his fair customers the finest lace and the 
most elegant jewelry that the workshops of France ever produced ; 
the sale commenced, and before many minutes had passed awa}', I 
saw Mrs. Astor pack into her velvet bag several pieces of lace and 
as man}' ornaments of jewelry as might suffice to decorate at least 
half a dozen of brides. After she had completed her purchases 
she carelessly threw her reticule on a bench in a remote corner of 


the room, iind immediately opened a brisk conversation ■^^'itli a 
surrounding group of male and female companions, who buzzed 
around her, and vied with one another for volubility and nonsense. 
The babel of voices could not fail to attract the attention of the 
other spectators, who crowded the place, and while some were oc- 
cupied in talking, and the rest in listening admiration, I laid hold 
of the bag with apparent carelessness, and thrusting it quickly into 
my bosom, left the room unnoticed, taking a French leave of the 

I honestly showed to my companions the whole amount of my 
valuable prize, and finding Melinda on my return home in low 
spirits and much disheartened, I presented her with a piece of lace, 
which she refused to accept for a long time, and not until I suc- 
ceeded in making her believe that I drew it as a prize in a lottery 
recently established to befriend a poor widow, whom misfortune in 
trade had obliged to decline business. The company met the third 
day after this transaction, to settle up doings of the preceding 
week, and omitting to render an account of the lace I had given to 
my wife, I was accused of a fraudulent concealment. Tiie opinion 
of the majority coinciding with my accuser, high words ensued, 
and blows succceeding words I was severely beaten; and my un- 
generous companions threatening to lodge an information against 
me at the mayor's office, I suddenlj^ determined upon quitting 
them, and made arrangements accordingly for leaving New York 
the next day. 

I immediatel}' communicated my determination to Melinda, and 
she received the intelligence with evident marks of regret and dis- 
appointment. She was pleased with her situation in Pearl street, 
and having formed an intimac}^ with a few females in the neighbor- 
hood whose society she liked, she was unwilling to leave New York. 
She was affected on the occasion even to tears, but her tears were 
like an April shower, through which the cheerful sun soon broke, 
and dissipated every cloud of discontent that hung upon her brow. 
Our household affairs did not require much time to prepare the 
necessary arrangements previous to a removal. In less than twelve 
hours our little stock of furniture was either packed up ready for 
transportation, or disposed of at priv^ate sale, or given away as pres- 
ents or keepsakes to our kind neighbors. In the evening we 
crossed the river and proceeded for New Brunswick, in the State 
of New Jersey, which I had selected as the place of our temporary 
residence. I could not help remarking the contrast between the 


feelings of Melinda on this occasion and my conduct — she was so 
seviousl}' distressed on leaving the place that contained companions, 
who were equally worthy of one another, that she was afraid to 
trust herself with taking a formal leave, and came off without ex- 
changing the parting kiss or farewell salutation, whilst I was all 
anxiety to remove from the same town that contained companions 
with whom I had associated from selfish views of interest and gain, 
but v/hose society I hated, and whose conduct in many instances I 
secretly abhorred and openly disapproved of The whole number 
of banditti to which I belonged consisted of twentj'-one, including 
m3-self, and for the designation of our persons, when we held our 
secret meetings, it was agreed that each should assume some ficti- 
tious name or appellation. The name appropriated to my accuser 
was " Bub Brimstone," while that applied to me was " Harry Hurri- 
cane," and ever^' one of us had some strange appellation aflixed to 
him, just as fancy, blasphemy, or some leading trait of character 
suggested. Bob was one of the most bold, daring, and blood-thirsty 
villains I ever met with. Although I cannot say I was one of those 
who look upon human nature as so very depraved as to admit, at 
all times and under all circumstances, every species of vice, cruelty, 
and crime in its most deformed shape, and exclude from the same 
bosom, or extinguish in it everj^ spark of humanity or generous 
feeling, j-et truth obliges me to declare, that this unhappy individual 
had less of the man and more of the monster than an^^ of the human 
family I ever knew. Villain}"- had marked him as its own, and it 
is to be feared there is not a vice or a crime that he had not perpe- 
trated at some period of his life. I was particularly shocked at his 
brutal conduct on one occasion, which came within my own knowl- 
edge, and for which, on account of my agency in preventing his 
horrible purpose, he swore one of the most terrible oaths of re- 
venge that ever fell from the impious lips of blasphemy. It had 
been customary with the " band " to give their attendance at the 
theatre every night of performance, to embrace every opportunity 
that afforded for plunder, robbery, and pocket-picking. 

We knew it was not usual for the merchants and other inhabi- 
tants of the city to carry about their persons any large sums of 
money, especially to the theatre and other places of public amuse- 
ment. Our chief dependence was on country merchants and 
strangers, who might happen to go there the first night of their 
arrival in town, when, owing to the fatigues of travel, and a desire 
to indulge a gawkish curiosit}', natural to persons who had few or 


110 opportunities at liome to gratify the love of novelty and pleasure, 
they were surprised into sleep, or lost in amazement at the " new 
wonders " that presented themselves to their astonished senses in a 
fantastic variety of shapes, so as to become easy objects of prey, 
and innocent subjects for plunder. It happened, during a night of 
performance, on which we counted on great success, in consequence 
of a crowded house on the first appearance of Cook, the celebrated 
English actor, in some new and interesting character, the whole 
"band" attended to a man. Our hopes were not disappointed, and 
Bob Brimstone, being more successful than the rest, and maddened 
with jo}" at his good luck, having become intoxicated with liquor 
towards the close of the entertainment, and infuriated with passion 
to indulge his brutal appetite, had, unknown to the rest, formed the 
diabolical plan of seizing some unprotected female. Fortune seemed 
to favor his criminal design. On leaving the theatre, he observed 
a young lady walking alone to and fro, in search of her little brother, 
who had accompanied her, and whom she had missed in the crowd 
as they descended the steps of the vestibule. Having offered his 
assistance to find the lost boy, he succeeded in enticing her into an 
unfrequented dark alley, where no voice of distress could be heard, 
and where, unseen by human eye, he meant to perpetrate his dread- 
ful purpose. 

Having proceeded up the alley until he came to a place where an 
opening was formed by two large warehouses, which had been 
erected within three feet of each other, he seized her person with 
ruffian violence, and dragged her almost half way through this 
gloomy passage, when he proceeded to stop her mouth by thrusting 
a handkerchief down her throat. The poor affrighted female ut- 
tered the most piercing shrieks that ever proceeded from the voice 
of despair, but all her cries would have been in vain, had not chance 
or rather an ever watchful Providence interposed, by directing my 
steps and those of another of the " gang " to return home through 
this darksome passage. Hearing the cry of distress, we immedi- 
ately ran to the spot from whence it came, and just arrived in time 
to save youth, beauty, and innocence from pollution and ruin. 

Having extricated the unfortunate female from the grasp of the 
monster, we immediately took her under our protection, and pre- 
l^ared to accompany her to Greenwich street, in which her parents 
resided. She continued in a state of terror and distrust until we 
delivered her into the hands of her father, who invited us into the 
house, and overwhelming us with the strongest expressions of grati- 


tucle, insisted upon our partaking of some refreshments before we 
parted. I instantl}^ took my departure home, and full of the most 
pleasing reflections at being the instrument of saving this beautiful 
and interesting girl from violence and defilement, I enjoyed a more 
sound and composed sleep that night than I had done for man}' 
months before. 

Melinda's situation not permitting us to travel fa'=it, we did not 
reach New Brunswick until the third day. "We continued to lodge 
at the stage house for about a week, when I rented a small tenement 
in the outskirts of the town, and having procured a few articles 
necessary for housekeeping, we moved in. 

This place being limited in population, and not affording many 
fruitful sources either of speculation or depredation, I was obliged 
to make various predatory excursions into the surrounding country 
for plunder and opportunities to pass away my counterfeit money. 
Experience had taught me the necessity of prudence and caution, 
and I was determined upon proceeding with the utmost vigilance. 
Having learned that there was a college at Princeton, and that most 
of the students were from the southward, I concluded that in a 
seminary so extensive and conspicuous, there must be many 
" empty heads and full purses," especially during the approaching 
Christmas holidays, when most of the students were in the habit of 
receiving large supplies of cash to enable them to indulge in the 
various festivities of the season. As soon as Melinda was able to 
leave her room, and attend to her domestic concerns, I set out in 
the first stage that offered for Princeton, and having assumed the 
character, the airs, and consequence of a Georgia planter, I soon 
succeeded in introducing mj'self to the professors, and in order to 
further my schemes, I gave out that my object was to procure a 
berth in the college for my brother, whose arrival I expected imme- 
diately after the expiration of the holidays. I sought every oppor- 
tunity to court the society and gain the good opinion of the young 
men with whom I had contracted an acquaintance — passing for a 
man of fortune, singing a good song, and beins: able to " crack a 
bottle " with the best of them, I was invited to most of their con- 
vivial parties, at which cards being introduced, I was a voluntary 
loser at first, and apparently plaj'^ed with so much carelessness and 
ignorance, that the poor youths began to boast of their plucking 
the *' Georgia pigeon," but alas 1 in less than three nights, during 
which our sittings were from five in the afternoon mitil five o'clock 
in the morning, I not only recovered all I had lost, but won at least 


three hundred dollars of the money which their foolish parents had 
remitted them. Our place of rendezvous was a back chamber in 
the most retired part of the tavern, and the obliging landlord usually 
watched the door like a faithful " Cerberus " to prevent intrusion, 
and hinder us from the observation of the citizens of the village, 
and the detection of the masters in the college. In the forepart of 
the night I alwa3'S managed to lose more than any other, but after 
supper, when the heads of these silly youths were heated with the 
fumes of liquor, which they generally drank to great excess, and in 
which I encouraged them as much as possible, they became elevated 
by their former success and good luck, played unguardedly and bet 
high, of which I did not neglect to take advantage, and frequently 
left the table with my pockets well stored with the fruits of my 
victory. I cannot reflect on my Princeton adventures without re- 
marking the very improper conduct of parents and guardians in 
furnishing youth at colleges with such liberal supplies of money, as 
is generally done. No seminary can flourish where such a prjictice 
is persisted in ; no sj-stem of discipline can reach the evil ; and 
while the exertions of the master are defeated by the acts of the 
parent, the hopes of the parent are disappointed ; and when he em- 
braces his son on return from college, he finds him often not only 
unimproved in his education, but ruined in his health and corrupted 
in his morals. 

As soon as the college recess was over, I left Princeton and went 
to Philadelphia, with my pockets full of money and my head full 
of schemes. I did not remain long in so populous a place, before I 
discovered many persons of the same stamp as myself. Whilst my 
money remained I did not think of any new enterprise, but my as- 
sociates taking advantage of my generous disposition, practiced 
every ai-t that ingenuity suggested to trick me out of the greater 
part of it. I continued in Philadelphia two weeks, rioting in every 
scene of dissipation that my own vicious inclinations and the free 
use of money could procure. Necessity at length compelled me to 
resort to mj- old plans, and the same system of midnight depreda- 
tions, robberies and pocket-picking was pursued here as in New 
York. I was very near embarking in a plan, which if it had suc- 
ceeded would have enabled me to renounce my present course of 
life forever. It was to decoy the rich French banker, Mr. Girard, 
out of the city into the country, and keep him in confinement until 
he gave checks on his own and other banks to a large amount. If 
this failed, we intended to enter the Dock street sewer and contrive 


to open a communication underground with the banking house, and 
thus rob the vaults. But luckily for Mr. Girard, before the time 
ripened for action, I received a letter from Melinda, advising me of 
the dangerous illness of my little daughter, and entreating me to re- 
turn to New Brunswick without delay. I was therefore obliged to 
give up the enterprise for the time, and leaving my companions in 
great wrath at my abandoning them at so critical a period, returned 
home with scarcely fifty dollars of good money at my command. 
After remaining with Melinda about four weeks, during which my 
purse became lighter every day, I determined upon going to the 
lines, to procure some situation in the army, under the command of 
Gen. Alexander Smj^th. 

Having prepared Melinda's mind for leaving her, I took my de- 
parture for the north, in better spirits than I expected I should 
have done, when my mind dwelt upon the forlorn condition in which 
I should leave a beloved wife and an engaging infant. 

Hope still buoyed me up with visionary schemes, and the expec- 
tation of plunder and boot}', which I promised myself when the 
army should make its entry into Canada, tended much to 
drive away present melancholy reflections. On my way to 
the lines I met with companions as vicious and fond of pleasure 
as m3'self, and stopping at a wretched inn on the road, kept on 
purpose for the entertainment of gamblers and black-legs, I spent 
several days and nights in uninterrupted scenes of carousal, gaming 
and drinking. My companions being old acquaintances, had formed 
a league, and entered into a conspiracy to cheat me at cards of all 
my mone^'. They succeeded in tricking me out of the remains of 
my ill-gotten cash, and on the morning of the fourth day I decamped 
at daybreak, leaving them to pa}' the landlord m}'- share of the bill. 
After traveling about fifty miles more, with an empty purse and a 
hungr}' stomach, I applied to a wealthy farmer for employment, 
who agreed to hire me for a teamster. I did not remain long at 
the occupation, before my employer's team was pressed into the 
service of the United States army, I accordingly drove the wagon 
to the lines with a detachment of troops, on the way to join the 
army under the command of Alexander Smyth. On our 
arrival at the place of destination, I had man}'' opportunities of in- 
dulging all my vicious propensities, and frequently plundered both 
officers and men of their money and property. The bustle of a 
camp amused me for some time, but the delay in crossing the lines, 
occasioned by General Smyth's strange conduct, created so much 


dissatisfaction, that I was not sorry, eager as I was to plunder the 
enemy, when the campaign ended. The war at this time was noth- 
ing here but a war of " Proclamations," and the failure of the expe- 
dition produced nothing but expense to the government, and 
laughter among the officers and soldiers of the army at the crazy 
behaviour and " bombastic style " of the commanding General. 
Having received from the commanding officer, or wagon-master, a 
certificate of the number of days employed in the public service, I 
prepared to return, but a sudden thought entering my head of going 
off with m}"- employer's wagon and horses, I yielded to the tempta- 
tion, and changing the direction of my route, steered for the AUe- 
ghenj^ Mountains, in Pennsylvania, whose scattered population and 
numerous caverns and breaks afforded various coA'^erts and hiding 
places for criminals and fugitives. I parted with my wagon and 
team as soon as I could procure a purchaser, but the mone}^ I never 
returned to my employer. Whenever I thought of this unsuspect- 
ing, honest man, who had misplaced in me so much confidence, the 
recollection of my ungrateful conduct for a long time occasioned 
me many a pang. "I was a stranger and he took me in, hungry 
and he fed me, naked and he clothed me," but guilt has no memory 
for kindness, and I forgot them all in my wretched pursuit of means 
to gratify'ray sensual desires, I need not mention the name of this 
benevolent man, but should he be living and these pages ever fall 
into his hands, he will certainly discover that the unfortunate David 
Lewis, and the person who betrayed his trust, under the fictitious 
name of Peter Yanbeuren, are one and the same person. As soon 
as I thought it safe to exchange the solitude of the dark cavern for 
the more busy haunts of man, I repaired to Stoystown, where I met 
with an old acquaintance who had fled from justice. Being ac- 
quainted with my wife, he very abruptly communicated to me the 
first intelligence of the death of this amiable and unfortuliate woman, 
who had died leaving an infant daughter, who survived her unhappy 
mother, and bore the name of Kesiah, agreeably to the last request 
she ever made. The unexpectedness of the news, and the unfeeling 
manner in which the intelligence was conveyed, brought tears to 
my e)'es and sorrow to my heart. 



Renews his Connectiou with Couuterfeiters — Visits Chambersburg — Falls in 
Love with a Fayette County Girl — The Cave Retreat — Open, Susanna, 
Open — Rifles the Pockets of his Partners — Buries the Money and Never 
Finds it — Meets his Affianced and is Married — Visits Emmitsbvirgh, Mary- 
land, and Shippensburg, Pa. — Meets Mr, Martin on the Walnut Bottom 
Road — Tries to Pass Counterfeit Money — Escapes from Carlisle — Exhibits 
Himself as a Beacon to Others — Returns to the Home of his ^lother — Re- 
news his Relation as a Counterfeiter — Returns to Cumberland County — 
Where he and his Partners Make Counterfeit Money — Passes off $100 note 
at Landisburg and at Newville — Passing through Roxbury, Strasburg and 
Fannettsburg and exchanges $1,000 More — Reaches Bedford — Is Arrested — 
Sent to the Penitentiary — Is Pardoned — Resolutions Broken — Falls in with 
his Usual Bad Company — Robs a Mr. McClelland and is Arrested — Breaks 
Jail — Escapes to Doubling Gap — Thence to York County — Returns to Cum- 
berland — Raid on Mr. Bashore's Residence — Is Taken a Prisoner and 
Lodged in Carlisle Jail — Is Taken to Chambersburg — Is rather Severe on 
County Officials — Escapes from Jail — Returns to Doubling Gap — Concludes 
to Rob Mr. Sharpe, David Sterrett and Mr. McKeehan — Tries it on Mr. 
McKeehan but his "Heart Fails " him. 

~l TAD I now obeyed the dictates of conscience, I would have 
-^ — ■- quit the thorny path of guilt forever, and traveled the remain- 
der of my life in the road of virtue. The violence of my distress 
continued for some time, and my heart being softened with sorrow, 
I had nearly gained a victory over myself, when my companion 
succeeded, by ridiculing my grief, in getting me to connect myself 
again with a gang of counterfeiters, who had secreted themselves 
in a retired part of the mountain, not far from town. After joining 
the band, I was prevailed on to go to Chambersburg to procure 
paper suitable for the purpose from Mr. John Shr3^ock, who is con- 
cerned in a paper mill near that place. Owing to m}* suspicious 
appearance, or some regulation among cautious and honest paper 
makers, Shryock refused to sell me any, and in consequence of his 
refusal, I was obliged to go to a paper mill in Virginia, carrying 
with me a " sample " of Shryock's manufacture, which I i)icked off 
the table while he had turned round to speak to some person who 


had entered the apartment. Having procured a stock of paper, 
made agreeably to the sample furnished, I returned to m}^ comrades 
in the mountain, where we went to work and struck a number of 
impressions of different denominations. As is usually done among 
counterfeiters, we made an equal divide of the false notes, and then 
separated t^ pass them off in the exchange of horses and other prop- 
erty. Some of my companions went into the neighboring States of 
Virginia and Ohio, while I preferred Bedford, Somerset, Uniontown 
and Brownsville. In these towns, and the counties in which they 
are situated, I was very successful in passing away and exchanging 
my bad money, and escaped detection in such a wonderful manner, 
that made me bolder as I became more guilty and criminal. There 
is such a chain and connection among counterfeiters and robbers 
in Pennsylvania, and other States, and so numerous are their ac- 
complices and secret friends, that it is not easy to discover or ap- 
prehend them. In traversing Faj-ette county, I became acquainted 
with a 3'oung woman who bore so striking a resemblance to my de- 
ceased wife, that I determined upon paying my addresses to her, and 
her alone, if ever I changed my condition ; but my thoughts were 
chiefly occupied then about returning to my comrades in the moun- 
tains, all having agreed to meet at the cave at a time previously 
fixed upon. At the expiration of the stipulated period, I prepared 
for my return, and joined my companions as soon as I could, with- 
out meeting with any serious accident or interruption. In order 
to guard against intrusion, and protect us from the unwelcome 
visits of the officers of justice, of whom we were in constant dread, 
there was a door in the cave, which we called " Susanna," and on 
the approach of any of the gang, the signal for entry was, " open, 
Susanna, open;" as soon as these words were uttered, any of the 
party who happened to be within acknowledged the signal by cry- 
ing out, "Susanna is at home." Unfortunately I happened to be 
detained by sickness on the road, and did not arrive at the ap- 
pointed time. As soon as I gained admittance, I found all of my 
comrades in the cave, and the first salutation which greeted my 
ears, convinced me that something was wrong. I was accused of 
loitering away my time with the view of spending the money of the 
company, or concealing it. I denied the charge, which brought on 
a quarrel, that nearly came to blows ; and while my companions 
were in a deep sleep, I quietly and silently left them about mid- 
night, carrying with me not only the spoils, which I had made my- 
self, out of my various exchanges, but I rifled the pockets of my 


partners of all their ill-gotten contents, thinking it a light punish- 
ment, and one which they deserved, for their unjust suspicions of 
m}- honesty. 

In this manner I became possessed of a very considerable sum 
in bank notes, which I determined upon securing to enable me to 
abandon forever the villains with whom I had connected myself, 
quit the present course of life, in which I had been so long engaged, 
make a provision for m3'self and family, and follow some industri- 
ous mode of livelihood. But my scheme was frustrated b}' my own 
foil}'. Having taken with me a black bottle filled with whiskey to 
refresh me in my flight, as soon as it was emptied I put in it nearly' 
all m^- notes, which filled it up to the neck, and about twent.y miles 
from the cave I dug a hole in the most retired part of the mountain, 
and buried my bottle ; but bottle or notes I was never able to find 
again, though I made frequent unsuccessful searches for them. In 
my hurry I was not careful to mark the spot with sufficient precis- 
ion to enable me to discover it again; and thus was my ill acquired 
wealth lost to me, to m}- family, and to societ}- , unless some person 
ma}' have the good luck to come across it, an object worthy of 
search, and the contents sufficientl}^ large and valuable to reward 
the fortunate finder. 

I pursued my journey, or rather flight, through Fayette, and 
chance, or destiny throwing me again into the society of the young 
woman whom I had met before, and with whom I was so much 
pleased, I resolved upon remaining a few daj^s with her, and if I 
found her possessed of a good disposition, I determined upon unit- 
ing m}' fate with hers in the connubial state. Her countenance was 
an index of her heart ; she was as amiable as she was lovely, and 
perceiving that she received my visits with an encouraging famil- 
iarity, I soon declared my intentions of matrimony', and we were 
joined in wedlock. After sta3'ing with her three days, I concluded 
upon returning to my mother in Centre county, to procure a home 
for her there, until I could go to Philadelphia for my little children, 
whose uncertain fate and desolate condition wrung my heart with 
all the anguish and anxiety which a tender parent cannot but feel 
on such an occasion. To prevent apprehension and avoid suspi- 
cion, I crossed over into Virginia, and proceeded to Emmittsburgh 
in the State of Maryland. Being fatigued with walking so far, I 
stole a small mare out of a field in the neighborhood of this town, 
and rode to Shippensburg with the expectation of meeting an old 
acquaintance and accomplice, whom I had known in Berlin, and 


•svho, I understood, had gone to reside there. Being misinformed, 
I continued m}^ journey through Cumberland, and on my way hap- 
pened to call at a little store kept by a man of the name of Martin, 
on the Walnut Bottom Road. 

Drunkenness was b}' no means my destroying sin, or prevailing 
vice, but though I was seldom intoxicated to excess, I would oc- 
casionally indulge in drink more than I wished to do, when I hap- 
pened to mix in compan}^ with persons of jovial dispositions, and I 
would sometimes find myself under the necessity of drowning the 
clamors of remorse and the stings of conscience in the flowing 
bowl and sparkling glass. The morning on which I left Shippens- 
burg, I fell in with company at a tavern on the road, and drank 
freely; by the time I arrived at Martin's my ideas were in a state 
of confusion, and my usual caution and cunning being stupefied 
with liquor, I offered him in payment for some article I proposed 
buying some of my counterfeit notes, and acted with such impru- 
dence in the negotiation, as was sufficient to create suspicion in the 
mind of a man even more stupid than Martin. On being charged 
with passing bad money I denied the charge, and confirmed the de- 
nial with the strongest assertions of innocence, and in the heat of 
argument foolishly proposed accompanj'ing him to town, to submit 
the notes to the inspection and decision of the officers of the Car- 
lisle Bank. Martin consented, and we rode together to town, and 
went in company to the Bank. "When the notes were laid before 
the cashier and clerk, they both agreed, after a minute inspection, 
in pronouncing them counterfeits, and on refusing to give them up, 
I began to think that the affair might end more seriously than I 
expected. Some one proposed our going to M'Ginnis' tavern, to 
examine further into the matter, whither we went, accompanied by 
the bank officers. After undergoing a strict examination, and dis- 
covering from the winks that passed between the Colonel and 
Martin that they intended to arrest me, I concluded that my only 
chance of escape was to get off by means of some trick, which I 
thought I could practice upon them with success, as they all ap- 
peared to be " green hands " at catching a rogue. After making 
many protestations of innocence, and offering to confirm my decla- 
rations by the testimony of a respectable gentleman, an acquain- 
tance of mine, then in town, I was permitted to go in search of 
him, alone, and unattended by a constable, or any one. I made 
the best use of the liberty they imprudently gave me, and after 
turning Reitzel's corner iu Hanover street, walked off with a quick 


step until I came to Blain's cave, where I remained that night, 
and the next morning as soon as it was day, proceeded on foot 
for Centre county, having left the mare, which I had stolen near 
Emmittsburg, in the possession of Martin. 

I can have no motive or inducement in my present situation, 
when I expect so shortly to leave a wicked world, and appear be- 
fore the " great judge of all the earth " to answer for the deeds 
done in the body, to close my life with a lie upon my lip. Alas 1 
I have already sinned so much against heaven and earth, against 
God and my country, that the only reparation I can make to so- 
ciety is to give a full disclosure or confession of all my manifold 
crimes and offences ; nor do I think the atonement would be com- 
plete unless I strip the veil from my heart, expose every secret in- 
tention, and declare with truth and candor, not only all my wicked 
criminal acts, but all the plans, purposes, and schemes which were 
from time to time contemplated and agitated, and which I and the rest 
of the different bands with whom I associated were prevented from 
executing by the special interference of a kind Providence, who 
sta3-ed our uplifted hands from committing many crimes, interpos- 
ing various unexpected obstacles, which either I could not account 
for at the time, or attributed to chance or accident. If no other ad- 
vantage will be derived from this disclosure, I trust it will have the 
effect of deterring youth and others from adopting or persevering 
in the same course of life in which I embarked ; and if by exhibit- 
ing myself as a beacon, I can warn others from the dangerous shoals 
on which I have shipwrecked my own happiness and peace of 
mind, I shall consider myself fully repaid for the painful exertion 
I now make. 

When I look back upon my ill-spent life, and endeavor to discover 
the cause or source from which all my misfortunes and crimes have 
sprung and proceeded, I am inclined to trace their origin to the 
want of early instruction. Had my widowed mother been pos- 
sessed of the means of sending me to school, and afforded me the 
opportunity of profiting by an education, the early part of my 
j'outh, instead of being engaged in idle sports and vicious pursuits, 
might have been employed in the studies of useful knowledge, and 
m}' mind by this means have received an early tendency to virtue 
and honesty, from which it would not afterwards have been diverted : 
but alas ! she was poor, and the Legislature of Pennsylvania — I 
blush with indignation when I say it — had made no provision, nor 
has she yet made any adecj[uate one, for the gratuitious education 


of the children of the poor. Until this is done, and schools are 
established at the public expense for teaching those who are with- 
out the means of paying for instruction, ignorance will cover the 
land with darkness, and vice and crime run down our streets as a 
mighty torrent. 

After my expedition on the lines, I became disgusted with mili- 
tary life, and gave up every view of enlisting again ; the dis- 
appointments, vexations, and terrors I experienced in my associa- 
tions with the counterfeiting gang, who had fixed their establish- 
ment near " Stoj^stown," and the risk I ran in being apprehended 
by the officers of the Carlisle Bank for my attempt to pass the 
counterfeit money with Martin, increased my anxiety to visit my 
mother and brothers. After leaving Carlisle I acted with caution, 
and refrained from committing any depredation on the road to my 
mother's. My relations received me with a better welcome than I 
had any reason to expect, and while they expressed their satisfac- 
tion at seeing me, they renewed all their arguments in the most 
friendly and persuasive style to impress my mind with the wicked- 
ness and dangers of the course of life I was following. They almost 
persuaded me to settle and become industrious and sober; but the 
bad habits I had contracted in the army, together with my natural 
disposition for rambling, predominated over their good advice, and 
renewing my acquaintance with some of my late companions in 
arms, who had been to Canada, I readily entered into their service, 
and having procured the necessary material for counterfeiting, I 
became a partner in this tempting species of fraud. The period 
was extremely propitious for the success of the project. The Leg- 
islature of Penns3-lvania had recently established by law a great 
number of new banks in every part of the State, which we and many 
others considered little better than a legalized system of fi'aud, 
robbery and swindling. Determined upon seizing the golden op- 
portunity of making our fortunes, we returned to Cumberland and 
erected a small hut in the South Mountain, near Mr. Brewster's 
tavern, and boarding at a gentleman's house in the vicinity, we pro- 
ceeded to manufacture all sorts and sizes of counterfeit bank bills, 
but principally notes on the " Philadelphia Bank," of the denomi- 
nation of $100. Having struck ofi" what we supposed to be a suffi- 
cient number, we separated for the purpose ot passing them off. I 
proceeded to Landisburg, where I passed off" a $100 note to Mr. 
Anderson, a merchant in that place ; from thence I went to New- 
ville, where I succeeded in putting off another note of the same de- 


scription on a Mr. Geese, a store-keeper in that town. I was ex- 
tremel}- fortunate in both eases, not only in procuring change in 
good mone}', but in walking off v/ith the booty without detection, 
or even suspicion. At that time city money was scarce and in 
great demand, and the country merchants being anxious to make 
their remittances in city notes, seized with avidity the opportunity 
of making the favorable exchange, and never took time to examine 
whether the notes were genuine or not. Passing through Roxbury, 
Strasburg and Fannettsburg, I exchanged about $1000 in notes of 
various denominations, purchased a horse at the Burnt Cabins — 
traded him off for a better one, paying the difference in counterfeit 
notes, and in this manner proceeded to Bedford, where after several 
lucky trades, and passing ofl a number of spurious bills, I found 
mj^self in possession of a handsome sum of money, fifteen hundred 
dollars of which I deposited in the Bedford bank, and sported for 
some time on the residue, when wishing to make a bold push, and 
get rid of all my counterfeit stock, mj^ imprudent anxiet}' occasioned 
suspicion, and I was arrested and imprisoned on the charge of pass- 
ing counterfeit money.* I could easily have made my escape from 
the jail of Bedford, but Samuel Riddle and Charles Huston, Esqs., 
the lawyers to whom I gave the balance of money to clear me, flat- 
tered me with such encouraging assurances of acquittal that I was 
induced to see it out. After remaining in jail for a considerable 
time, and experiencing all the painful feelings of suspense, my trial 
was ordered on, and notwithstanding the zeal and exertions of my 
counsel, I was found guilty, and sentenced to ten years imprison- 
ment in the Penitentiary. I remained here about a year, during 
which time I began to have serious thoughts of reformation, when 
the powerful intercessions of m}- friends, and the knowledge I had 
of the weak side of Governor Findlay in favoring applications of 
this nature suggested a pardon as the best means of restoring me 
to liberty. As I expected, his excellenc}^ received my petition for 
a pardon in a manner that gave my friends no doubt of the success 
of the application ; and they did not remain man}' hours in suspense 
before the Secretary delivered them a paper under the great seal of 
the State, granting me full forgiveness for all my crimes, and a com- 
plete remission of all the penalties of the law. After I left Harris- 
burg, I went to Bedford to endeavor to get back some of my money 
which I had deposited in the bank, but the bank officers refusing 
mj- checks I was again reduced to great distress, and in a moment 

*See commuuicatiou of G. P. L., in Chapter III. 


of despair, was very near putting an end to my life, when I fell in 
with one Rumbaugh, who had assumed the name of Connelly, and 
a man who called himself James Hanson. I did not keep their 
company many daj^s before they persuaded me to join them in way- 
laj'ing and robbing a Mr. M'Clelland, whom they had traced from 
Pittsburg to Bedford, and who they found out was to pursue his 
journey to Philadelphia the following morning. We accordingly 
armed ourselves and proceeded to a tavern within a few miles of 
Bedford, in a lonely place in the woods, where we drank a pint of 
brandy ; starting on a few rods ahead we at length stopped, and 
waited in the woods near the roadside for about half an hour with 
great impatience, until Mr. M'Clelland came in view. He rode 
along at a slow pace and in a careless manner, until he had got 
nearly past us, when Connelly, jumping out of the thicket, seized his 
horse by the bridle, and presenting a pistol, told him if he made 
any noise he would shoot him. Hanson and myself then came up 
and held his legs while Connelly led his horse into the woods, where 
we took from him his money in the manner which has been already 
stated in the public prints. To escape detection Connelly and 
Hanson proposed to make away with him, alleging that " dead men 
told no lies," but I peremptorily refused, and told them if they did 
they must first murder me, and so deterred them from the bloody 
act. Having secured the money we then bent our course towards 
Lewistown, in Mifflin county, intending to proceed into the State 
of New York, but we were overtaken two miles from the former 
place, and brought back to Bedford. It may not be improper here 
to state, that I had always determined never to stain my hands with 
blood, or kill any one except in self defence, but I would certainly 
have shot Ephraim Enser, the man who caught me after I had 
thrown down William Price, if my pistol had gone off. My natural 
disposition was by no means cruel ; and hearing my mother read 
out of the Bible the story of Cain killing his brother Abel, when I 
was yel a child, it made an impression on my young and tender 
heart which never was effaced. 

After remaining in the Bedford jail for some time, and finding 
the usage not such as should be given to prisoners in our condition, 
I determined on an escape, and accordingly put the convicts and 
prisoners who were confined with me on a plan to get ofl, which 
succeeded to my full expectation. We let out all the prisoners 
that would go, excepting an ordinary fellow that had robbed a poor 
widow, and who I was determined should be left behind to take 


caro of the jailer and bis famil}^ whom we had looked up in the 
same apartment lately occupied by us. 

Connell}' and myself proceeded along the mountains to Doubling 
Gap, in Cumberland county, where we came across an old acquaint- 
ance, and remained there a few days, and then went to Petersburg, 
in Adams county, where we procured some clothing and other nec- 
essaries, having left Bedford in a very destitute condition. After 
we had refreshed ourselves, and recovered from our fatigue, we 
crossed over to the Conewago hills in York county, and having 
committed several petty robberies and depredations, we directed 
our course into East Pennsboro,one of the most wealthy and pop- 
ulous German settlements in Cumberland county, with the view of 
robbing some of the rich farmers in that neighborhood. Hearing 
that Jonas Roop was about building a new mill, and had gathered 
a good deal of money for that purpose, we lurked about in the vi- 
cinity for some time, but could not meet with a favorable opportu- 
nity to accomplish our ends. 

We next visited Krietzer's tavern, and judging from the large- 
ness of his barn of the size of his purse, we expected to be more 
fortunate with him than we had been at Roop's, but we were again 
disappointed. While in his bar-room we heard some of his neigh- 
bors talk, in the absence of Mr. Krietzer, of his not having one 
cent for every dollar in the possession of Mr. Beshore, who was 
represented as having more ready money than all the rest of his 
neighbors put together. We immediately laid our plans for an at- 
tack on his house, and would certainl}- have succeeded, but for the 
presence of mind and bravery displayed by his wife, who blew a 
horn to alarm the neighborhood, discovering as much courage on 
the occasion as some men, and more I'esolution than any other 
woman I ever met with. 

It was not long before a number of the neighbors came to her 
assistance, and Connelly, snatching up a rifle which stood conve- 
nient in the house, made off, while I, who for the first time in the 
last five years became intoxicated to excess, was taken prisoner, 
and after being secured and fastened, some cowardly fellow came 
up and struck me in my defenseless condition.* I was then taken 

* Samuel McGaw, Esq., of Good Hope, gives the followiuij as a tradition 
of the neighborhood : " Au old resident of the neighboihood, named Samuel 
Miller, was with the party making the arrest. After they were arrested 
Miller struck with his fist and kicked Lewis, whereupon Lewis swore that 
he had never killed a man in his life, but if he ever had an opportunity he 
would kill him (Miller)." 



to the Carlisle jail, and put in a very strong room, out of which T 
saw but very little chance of escape ; but to my great joy and sat- 
isfaction I soon heard that the Sheriff of Bedford count}^ had come 
down to demand me. I was the more pleased with the prospect of an 
exchange of prisons from the dislike I took to the jailer, who 
seemed to be a very surl}' fellow, and always looked as if he be- 
grudged the prisoners the common jail allowance. The Sheriff was 
not successful in his application, but upon Alexander Mahon and 
William Ramsay, Esquires, swearing that the Carlisle jail was not 
sufficiently strong to hold me, I was ordered to be taken to Cham- 
bersburg by Sheriff Ritner, whom I had remembered to have seen 
before, while following an occupation for whicli he was much bet- 
ter fitted than the one he was then engaged in. In conducting me 
to Chambersburg Ritner was accompanied by a young man, who I 
think was called Hendricks, very unlike another of the deputies 
who assisted in bringing me from Mechanicsburg to Carlisle ; his 
name I cannot remember, though I shall not forget him if I was to 
live a thousand years, as I was very forcibly struck with the con- 
trast of character between the two young men, for while the for- 
mer was modest and reserved, and never plagued me with imperti- 
nent questions, the other was continually teasing me with various 
inquiries which it did not become him to use to a person in my sit- 
Hation. I soon discovered that his silly conduct proceeded from 
vanity, and that he had a great desire to make a display of his 
learning to me, for he was constantly pulling out of his pocket a 
little book, which I took for a pocket dictionary, to find out the 
meaning of the high fiowing words he made use of. During our 
travel I informed the Sheriff that I had met him before, at Millers- 
town, on the Juniata, when Connelly proposed our robbing him, 
but as I knew he made no profitable sales abroad, nor received any 
collections, I concluded he could have no money about him. The 
fact is, nothing would have pleased me better at the time than to 
have robbed him, as I had long heard the office holders of Carlisle 
represented to be a hungry, avaricious set of extortioners, whom 
no sense of justice, or feeling of humanity could restrain from 
grinding the poor. 

If there was any class or description of people in society whom 
I would sooner have robbed than any other, it was those who held 
public offices, and under color of law had been guilty of extortion ; 
who had plundered the poor, and cheated the widow and the or- 
phan. Against such workers of iniquity my mind had taken a set, 


and I was determined never to spare them on any occasion tiiat 
offered. The groans of the distressed, the cries of the widow, and 
the comphiinings of the oppressed rang in my ears, and called 
aloud for vengeance. There was perhaps no place in the State in 
which I heard more complaints of this sort than in the county of 
Cumberland, and as Carlisle was my native place, for which I felt a 
strong attachment, instead of committing a wrong I conceived that 
I would be rendering society a service by punishing those official 
marauders who infest the town, in visiting upon them the same de- 
gree of severity which they had visited upon others, and thus, 
"make the cruel teel the pains they gave." With this view, I at 
one time proposed to my companions that we should abandon the 
highways, make our peace with offended justice, satisfy the penal- 
ties of the law, reimburse those whom we had robbed and wronged, 
move into town, and adopt the most effectual mode of bringing ex- 
tortioners, bank swindlers, and public defaulters to justice, and 
make as much money out of them as we could. Having heard 
great complaints in every place of a certain act of Assembly called 
the Fee Bill, which had passed in the session of 1813-14, I pro- 
cured a copy of the law, and found that it contained a provision, 
that if any officer shall take greater or other fees than was express- 
ed and limited for the service, or shall charge, or demand and take 
any fees where the business was not actually done, shall charge or 
demand any fee for any service or services, other than those pro- 
vided for, such officer shall forfeit and pay to the party injured 
fifty dollars, to be recovered as other debts. I thought it remark- 
able that this provision (which was the only part of the law that 
had an eye to the interest and security of the people), shoul(J, re- 
main a dead letter, and that few instances occurred of the parties 
injured resorting to it for redress. I knew that in the long cata- 
logue of public officers, there were but few exceptions where this 
part of the act had not been infringed upon, and where sheriffs, 
prothonotaries, clerks of the sessions, justices and constables had 
not incurred the penalty. My plan was to proceed regularly through 
the town and country, procure a copy of the multitudinous suits 
spread upon their dockets, obtain copies of their respective bills of 
fees, call upon the parties interested, particularly defendants, make 
a bargain with them for permission to bring suits in their names 
for the penalties, and that I should receive one-half of the forfeit- 
ures for my trouble and expense. But Connellj' opposed the scheme, 
alleging that the number of public officers was so great — that they 


formed such a powerful phalanx in societ}-, and possessed so much 
influence, that they had grown so cunning from the long time they 
had been in office, they would be able to defeat all the humane in. 
tentions of the act. The project was in this way abandoned, very 
much against my will. 

I did not remain long in confinement before I tricked Mr. Leader, 
who was confident I would not leave him. My escape was owing 
to the negligence of the jailer, who in his hurry to see a fight that 
was going on in the street, forgot to lock the door of the last room 
of the convicts, contenting himself with bolting it ; and fastening 
the little wicket door, or rather window, with the key that unlocked 
the other rooms, he omitted to return and secure the door in the 
usual way. During the day the prisoners had fixed a soaped 
string over the top of the door, and concealed it in a crack on 
the outside, and by means of a loop or slip knot they succeeded 
in pulling out the key. The plan succeeding they unlocked the door 
through the window ; having thus got to the entry, and having the 
necessary key to open the door of the room in which I was confin- 
ed, I was in this manner liberated, and, springing the lock of the 
door leading into the women's apartment, and the door leading from 
thence into the yard, as well as that of the gate opening into the 
street, luckily I and four other criminals effected our escape, undis- 
covered by anybody, about two o'clock in the morning. We pro- 
ceeded about half a mile, and finding my hobbles troublesome we 
entered a pine thicket, where by means of an axe and cold chisel I 
extricated myself from the irons. While thus employed we heard 
distinctly the noise of the town bells, which were ringing on the oc- 
casfpn to alarm the inhabitants and rouse them to pursuit, and could 
not help laughing ver}^ heartily, notwithstanding the terror we were 
in, at the confusion and mortification our escape must produce 
among the wise citizens of Chambersbui-g. There is no truth in the 
supposition that I had bribed the jailer, or gave him an}^ directions 
about his getting fifteen hundred dollars, which it was said I had 
concealed in the Pines, south of the Walnut Bottom Road. I 
never hid any money there, nor promised Mr. Leader an}^ bribe 
whatever. He always treated me with humanity as long as I was 
his prisoner, and is wrongfully accused, if any body suspects my es- 
cape was owing to his criminality. We remained all that day in a 
rye field, and at night pursued our course to Doubling Gap. Near 
this place is a cave in the cleft of the mountain, formed by a pro- 


jecting rock, and here we remained for several days.* After re- 
freshing ourselves, and I had succeeded in procuring a change of 
clothes, I disguised myself as well as I could, and passing for a 
well-digger, paid frequent visits to Newville, especially in the night. 
I generally took a round through all the taverns to learn what was 
going on, and discover, if I could, which of the inhabitants had 
the most ready money. According to the talk of those I met with 
in the tavern, I was led to believe that the three richest men in that 
part of the country were Mr. Sharpe, David Sterrett, and an old 
gentleman of the name of Kehan, or McKeehan. From information 
I received,! rather concluded that the former had more land than 
money, as I understood he was in the habit of making a purchase 
of property every year, adding house to house, and field to field ; 
not believing Mr. Sharp to have by him as much cash as the others, 
I concluded upon robbing Mr. Sterrett ; but hearing that he had a 
short time before deposited all his money in the new bank at Car- 
lisle, and in consequence of its stoppage had little or no prospect of 
getting it out again, and learning also that he was a bond buyer, 
and had disposed of all his ready money in this way, I despaired of 
succeeding with him, and finally fixed upon old Mr. Kehan as the 
surest mark. I immediately set my ingenuity to work to devise the 
best plan for accomplishing my purpose, and accordingly intended 

* Statement of R. M., still living in Doubling Gap in 1853. — " When Lewis 
was here he generally concealed himself in the cave up the Gap. Some 
rods above the cave is a beautiful spring that breaks out more than half way 
up the mountain, which is about sixteen hundred feet high. I freciuently 
visited, and sometimes stayed with him at the cave. We had the stream 
running from the spring brought to the mouth of the cave. Everything was 
so comfortably arranged in and about the cave, that it was quite a comfort- 
able home. I remamed about the Gap and cave some six or eight months, 

with the exception of a few short intervals. A fiiend named K lived 

in the hollow at the sulphur spring, in a small house that he built, and which 
we called our tavern. We could see his door from the cave ; and having an 
understanding with "our host," we could always tell when there was any 
dunger, as on such occasions he would hang out a red Hag. If all was clear,, 
and It was considered safe to come down, a white flag was hung out. There 
were some persons iu the valley who were our friends ; one particularly, who 
was an endless talker, and sometimes talked too much. Lewis was a great 
favorite with the ladies. Some of them used to furnish us with the comforts 
of life, and several times visited us at the cave. We had a number of little 
parties at the tavern, and had great times. A number of the mountain ladies 
would come, and some of the men, and we would every now and then have 
a dance. This was the way we carried on whenever Lewis was here. The 
cave was neatly fitted up, and would accommodate five of us comfortably ; 
there was just that number of us acting together that stayed at the cave. 
We did not rob in the neighborhood of the Gaj), except to get such things as 
were necessary for us to live on. We lived on what we got in this way, and 
what was brought to us, I shall never forget the kindness of the people." 



to waylay him on Sunday evening as be returned from church. I 
meant to carry him into the woods, tie him and threaten him with 
violence, until he told me where his treasure was lodged ; on ob- 
taining this information, my plan was to go to the house and alarm 
the family, by making them believe that I had just left the old man 
dying in the road about a mile off, and that he had begged me to 
send every one of them to him directly ; I concluded that the intel- 
ligence would occasion great distress and confusion, and that in 
their absence I might have time enough to rifle his chests, and 
break open all his drawers. 

In pursuance of this premeditated scheme, I iid meet the old man 
one Sunday afternoon as he was returning home from church, but 
my heart failed me. I was so struck with his venerable form, his 
benevolent countenance, his republican simplicity of manners, and 
his patriarchal appearance, that I became confounded ; my feet be- 
came riveted to the ground, my tongue motionless, my heart ap- 
palled, and my eyes fixed in amazement, so that I could not find 
courage to proceed or touch him with the finger of violence. On 
meeting him in the highway'', he rode on after bidding me good day; 
when he had passed by I looked back at him, and said, what is the 
meaning of this? Oh, honesty! there is sometimes a charm even 
in thy external appearance sufficient to stay the hands of the rob- 
ber himself 1 there is a majesty in virtue which often appals vice 
itself, and strikes the gviilty conscience with terror and dismay. 
I returned to the cave that evening without committing au}' depre- 
dation, and slept better than I had done for several nights before. 
Living in a state of constant dread and apprehension of being re- 
taken, I became tired of the cavern and determined to return to my 
old haunts in East Pennsboro, to seek revenge of the fellow who 
had struck and abused me after I was tied, when I was taken before. 
I took my departure from the cave rather abruptly, leaving behind 
several articles of value, particularly^ a pair of pantaloons and 
some blankets. If they have fallen into the hands of any honest 
people on the Big Spring, I hope they will not daim or use them, 
but return them to my poor wife in Philadelphia the first opportu- 
nity that offers. 



Proposes to Rob Jonas Roop— Singular Circumstance— Attempt to Rob Con- 
rad Reininger— Is Confronted by a Dog and Belabored with a Club— A 
Strauge Presentiment — Last Visit to Carlisle — Reminiscences of Boyhood 
Days — Conscience at "Work— Journeying Towards His Mother's Home- 
Recollection of Hidden Money Lost in the Juniata — A Load of Goods Be- 
longing to Hamilton & Page, of Bellefonte, Captured — Attempts to Rob 
a Store — Remorse— Fear — Distress — A Terrific Object, a Snake with Two 
Heads — Flight — Hunger's Doings — Burning Stolen Goods — Shooting Mark 
with His Pal— Are Surrounded by a Pursuing Party — Are Fired Upon — Is 
Wounded — His Associate, Connelly, Dies — Is Arrested — His Imprison- 
ment — Confession — End in Prison. 

ON my return I again met with my evil genius, Connelly, who 
renewed the proposition of robbing old Jonas Roop, We made 
several attempts, but were alwaj's baffled. Jonas was in the habit 
of going to Harrisburg, and staying late in the company of Judge 
Bucher, who lived near the bridge. I was to cross over to the 
Harrisburg side, and 'Connell}^ to remain concealed in a thick 
covert of woods on the other side, near the road leading to Mr. 
Koop's house. I dogged him one Saturday' evening in particular, 
and would have robbed him or perished in the attempt, if I had 
not discovered from his conversation with Mr. Bucher that he kept 
no cash or read}- mone}^ in his house. I had crept slyly up the 
bank to the engine house near the bridge, and getting into oue of the 
empty boxes that lie there, I could distinctly hear all that passed 
without danger of discover3\ 

If it had appeared that Jonas was possessed of a sufficient sum of 
mone}' to justify the risk, our plan was to seize him after he had 
crossed the bridge on his return home, in some suitable part of the 
road the most remote from any house, carry him into some thicket 
of wood, tie him and his horse to a tree, and procure from him the 
key of his chest, or gain intelligence where his mouej' was hid, and 
get some token from him to his famil}', enabling us to deceive them 
and carry off the spoil without difficulty or danger, but the intelli- 
sence I gathered from the conversation between him and Bucher 


convincing me that Jonas neither carried money about his person 
nor had any at home, compelled me to abandon the scheme alto- 
gether as fruitless and vain. 

Being thus baffled in m}^ expectation of robbing Mr. Roop, I re- 
turned to our rendezvous a good deal disheartened in spirits, and 
disturbed in mind as to my future prospects ; — reflections on the 
past produced only disagreeable and painful sensations, and antici- 
pation of the future afforded but a gloomy prospective. Possess- 
ing, however, a restlessness of disposition, my mind could not re- 
main long unoccupied, without engaging in some new scheme. 
Necessity, too, furnished a new motive for action, and though I 
generally despised pett}' thefts and spring-house depredations, and 
wished to pursue the nobler game of highway robberies, which 
while they were more profitable were better calculated to make a 
great noise in the world, and produced a temporary eclat flattering 
to the pride of one who had gained a reputation for generosity even 
in his crimes, I was reduced to the alternative of starving in the 
midst of plenty, or descending to the expedient of committing petty 
larcenies, for the purpose of supplying the wants of nature. I did 
not hesitate long before I chose the latter, and in one of my pre- 
datory excursions, I discovered on the farm of Mr. Conrad Rein- 
inger, a wealthy and respectable German, a web of home-made cloth 
lying in an exposed situation. The temptation was too powerful 
for one in my distressed case to occasion hesitation or delay in 
seizing the valuable prize the first favorable moment that offered. 
I made the attempt accordingly, as soon as the stillness and dark- 
ness of night rendered it safe ; but darkness and night do not 
alwaj^s afford a cover for crime or a mantle for iniquit}' ; I was sur- 
prised in the attempt to cany it off, was pursued in my flight, 
and finally overtaken. My pursuers were accompanied by a large 
dog, whose fierceness and speed exceeded anything of the kind I 
ever witnessed before, for just as I was in the act of clearing the 
fence, the dog came up, seized me by the shoulders, drew me back, 
and held me fast until Mr. Reininger arrived, who immediately be- 
labored me with blows, from the effects of which I did not recover 
for some time. I had frequently seen Mr. Reininger before, and 
though I perceived he was a robust, broad-shouldered, stout built 
man for his size, I did not think there was so much strength in the 
arm of flesh, until 1 felt the force of his on this disastrous occasion. 

I was now completel^^ in the power of my pursuer, and expected 
every moment to be dragged to a magistrate and committed once 


more to jail, but Mr. Reininger not knowing me in the dark, and 
thinking no doubt that he had alread}' punished me sufflcientlj" for 
the unsuccessful attempt, discharged me from his grip, when I lost 
no time in making off as fast as I could. I returned to our usual 
hiding place about midnight, and suffering the most excruciating 
pain from a lacerated shoulder and bruised body, lay on the damp 
earth until daybreak, without an}^ mitigation of pain or relief from 
sleep. Apprehensive that the dog was mad, I endured the utmost 
anxiety, terror and suspense for nine da3's ; after the termination 
of this period, my fears arising from the dreaded effects of canine 
madness subsided, and I recovered graduall}^ both my health and 

Forming suddenly a determination of going to ray mother's, I re- 
solved upon its execution as soon as I could disengage myself from 
Connell}', of whose compan}' I began to grow tired, but Providence 
that overrules the actions and destinies of men had otherwise or- 
dained. As we had been so long connected together in a criminal 
intercourse, it was to be our fate to continue in the same career of 
wickedness until both should expiate their crimes by the justly 
merited sacrifice of their lives, on the same occasion and in the 
same manner. My wretched companion suspecting mj' intention 
to leave him, procured from me in an unguarded moment a rash 
oath that we should never separate from one another without the 
consent of each. A false pride and a mistaken sense of honor oper- 
ating upon a mind whose moral sense was weakened by vice, and 
whose conscience was hardened by crime, I determined to fulfil 
with fidelity what I had promised with rashness. Many daj^s had 
not elapsed after this before I became affected with a strange present- 
iment, which I could not resist, that my " glass was nearly run," and 
I should soon be called to answer for my conduct here in another 
world. Notwithstanding the errors of m}'^ education, and the wicked 
and criminal manner in which I had spent my life, I never disbe- 
lieved the existence of a God, or the truths of Revelation ; but my 
convictions of conscience (if such they can be called) were of so 
transitory a nature that the}' never produced any fruit, except an 
occasional fearful apprehension of Divine wrath and punishment, 
which I endeavored to remove as speedily as possible b}' embark- 
ing in some new adventure, or engaging in fresh scenes of dissipa- 
tion and debauchery. Not being able to overcome this feeling, and 
acting under its influence, I concluded upon paying a visit to Car- 
lisle, the place of my nativity, once more, before I should quit this 


part of the country forever ; as my intention was to retire to Can- 
ada and settle there, after I should see my mother and make prep- 
arations for removing my wife and children. Previous to my de- 
parture I was engaged in several enterprises of a criminal nature, 
In some of which we were fortunate, and in others unsuccessful. 
In the attempt to plunder the house of old Mr. Eberly, and I'ob him 
of a large sum of money which we were told he had in his posses- 
sion, chiefly in old gold and Spanish dollars, we were surprised in 
the act by an alarm made by the family, and I, in particular, was 
very near being apprehended. After the failure of this attempt I 
started to Carlisle early the next morning, having first disguised 
my person as well as I could, by altering my clothing, blackening 
my whiskers and eyebrows, covering one of my eyes with a piece 
of green silk, and sticking a large black patch on my left cheek ; in 
this manner I arrived in Carlisle about twilight in the evening, car- 
rying a bundle of old clothing under my arm, and affecting the in- 
firmity of an old cripple. 

Afraid to expose myself by remaining too long in the same place? 
and anxious to avoid the risk of detection, I changed my situ- 
ation frequently, and mixed with different companies at different 
times. I occasionally became a party to the conversations carried 
on, and thus became acquainted with the characters of some of 
the inhabitants, and the passing transactions of the times, which 
made me think the inhabitants of the place were really a very 
queer people. In one of my rambles through the streets, I hap- 
pened to meet with and immediately recognized the man with 
whom I attempted to pass some of my counterfeit notes, and 
through whose agency I was verj^ near being arrested; on in- 
quiry I found his real name to be Henry C. Marthens, and learnt 
that he had removed from the Walnut Bottom and settled in 
Carlisle. I likewise gained some information about the mare 
which I left in his possession, when I took French leave of him and 
Colonel M'Ginnis, and was told the mare was sold for one hundred 
dollars, and the money pocketed by Marthens. As Marthens has 
no right either to the mare or the money, he will do an act of justice 
only if he returns the latter to my poor and distressed wife and 
family, whom he will easily find either in Philadelphia or New York. 
At all events he can have no just claim to the monej^, and if he is 
unwilling to restore it to my family, he ought at least, as an honest 
man, ajopropriate it for some charitable or benevolent use, either in 
mj^ name, or in our joint names. I understood that this man, Mar- 



ttcns, intended to make the tour of Europe, whether in the charac- 
ter of Missionary' or Wandering Jew, I did not hear; his object 
appeared to be to impose on the credulous, by tendering his ser- 
vices to collect legacies and debts in the old countries. 

In the evening I repaired to the house in which I was born, 
situate in Hanover street, nearly- opposite Dr. Foulk, and so strong 
was my affection for the " natal spot," that I stooped down and 
kissed the sill of the door, on which I had frequently sat by the 
side of my mother, and enjoyed the innocent sports of boys older 
and bigger than myself who played around us in the street. I was 
also anxious to see again the draw-well which stood in the street a 
short distance from the house, and expected to find the same bucket 
hanging in the well, from which I liad often, unknown to my mother, 
allayed my thirst ; but finding a pump in its stead I drew up as 
much water as cooled my parched and burning mouth, which I 
drank out of the hollow of my hand ; but alas ! it could not quench 
the consuming fire that razed in my bosom. The scene brought to 
my recollection the happy days of infancy and innocence, which 
had gone by never to return, and the comparison between what I 
had been and what I now was filled m}- heart with anguish, and my 
conscience with compunction I felt as one possessed of two dis- 
tinct souls, and two opposite natures, one inclining him to virtue, 
and the other drawing him to vice and crime ; the strength of the 
latter prevailed over the weakness of the former, and had plunged 
me in that deep and black abyss of guilt from which I found it im- 
possible to rise. My heart was torn to pieces by the violence of 
feelings which now agitated me, and I shed a profuse shower of 
tears ; but tears afford relief only to those who are at peace with 
themselves ; alas ! they brought none to a miserable wretch so guilty 
as I had been. This gentle fluid of humanit}', while it ran from my 
inflamed eyes, only scalded my cheeks without relieving my burst- 
ing heart. I remained for some time in this agonj^ of feeling, 
transfixea to the spot like a statue of despair, and might have con- 
tinued to remain much longer, except for some " soft sounds of 
music " which broke upon my ear. I immediately turned round 
and found the sound proceeded from a house up an adjacent alley, 
where I followed until I came to the stone dwelling from which the 
sound issued. I stopped and listened with breathless attention. 
Finding it resembled the melod}'^ of sacred music, I opened the 
gate, and proceeded to the window, when, peeping through one of 
the broken shutters, I observed the delightful spectacle of au aged 


couple closing the labors and duties of the day in exercises of de- 
votion and worship. It was a sight to which I had not been ac- 
customed, and when the venerable "man of God," in the conclud- 
ing prayer, pronounced with the voice and countenance of an angel 
the solemn expression, amen ! I voluntarily repeated the word in 
so loud a tone, that it made them both start with surprise and 
astonishment; but lest my appearance, by remaining longer, should 
add to the terror of this worthy pair, I instantly escaped without 
being perceived. 

Retiring from the interesting spot with more composure than I 
came to it, my meditations recalled to my memory the religious im- 
pressions with which I had once before been affected, in New York, 
on hearing the Reverend Bishop Hobart preach in that city, and I 
lamented how easily they had been effaced by the guilt}^ pleasures 
and criminal scenes in which I indulged on that occasion, to dissi- 
pate their effects. After walking the streets for some time in 
search of a resting place for the night, I happened to pass by the 
public offices, and finding the door open, I preferred the hard bed 
and miserable shelter which the3' might afford my wearied body, to 
the damp and unwholesome air to which I must expose myself from 
lying on one side of the stalls in the open market-place. After 
placing my bundle on the bricks for a pillow, I laid down and soon 
fell into a sound and undisturbed sleep, from which I did not awake 
until my ears were assailed by loud crys of " Gliddy Glough, Gliddy 
Glough." I was not long in discovering that the sound came from 
a poor unfortunate maniac, of the name of Baggs, whom I had often 
seen in Carlisle and other places. I accosted him without apology, 
and saying, " George, be still," the inoffensive idiot immediately re- 
plied, " Oh 3'es, Bill," and without more ado retired to a corner of 
the entr}', where he laid down and remained quiet until he fell 
asleep, much happier than hundreds who lie on beds of down under 
canopies of velvet. Notwithstanding my poor accommodations for 
rest, I rose at day-break much refreshed, and returned to the old 
haunt at East Pennsboro, where I rejoined Connelly, my com- 
panion in iniquity. We tarried here two days, and on the morning 
of the third commenced our journey to my mother's. The conver- 
sation that passed between us on the road chiefly related to matters 
connected with the course of life in which we had so long been en- 
gaged, and the impressions made on my mind by recent circum- 
stances favoring a change of conduct growing weaker and weaker, 
I soon yielded with a willing mind to every suggestion and propo- 


sition that came from my dangerous companion. We now agreed 
to renew our old trade of robbery and plunder, and as guilt becomes 
bolder by repetition, we possessed a kind of factitious courage, 
bordering on despair, increased greatly b}'' the very circumstances 
of dangers we were in ; conscious that having offended against the 
peace of society and the laws of our country, no prospect appeared 
of receiving another pardon. 

On crossing the Juniata, an incident was brought to mj^ recollec- 
tion which I considered as a very unfortunate circumstance at the 
time it happened. It was as follows : Having got possession of a 
very large sum ot money in notes of the Carlisle Bank, which I had 
procured in exchange for counterfeits. I carefull3' placed them in a 
curious envelope, made of an alligator's skin, tanned at Havana, 
which the unfortunate Joseph Hare, lately executed at Baltimore, 
had purchased at Pensacola, and gave me for a keep-sake. On being 
pursued through the Tuscarora Mountains, I hid the skin with its 
contents under a large rock that projected over the river. During 
the spring freshet the rain had fallen in torrents, and the flood over- 
flowing the bank, washed away the earth, and carried off the rock 
into the Juniata at least ten feet from its natural bed. Returning 
to the spot about three months after the freshet, I discovered the 
ravages of the flood, and though I searched the bank of the river 
and the water below with the greatest care, I was unable to find 
either money or purse, an accident at which I grieved much at the 
time, not only for the loss of the notes as regarded myself, but it 
distressed me not a little to think any of the Governor's " litter" 
should profit so much by the disaster ; unless, perchance, some for- 
tunate waterman may have the good luck to discover it as he de- 
scends the river. 

"We moved on in this mood for some time, and determined not to 
risk much by pettj* thefts on the road, reserving all our skill and 
courage for greater exploits, more productive of gain, and at the 
same time as free from danger as enterprises of so daring a nature 
permitted. No opportunity for plunder happened for some time, 
and our hopes began to languish, when calling at a miserable grog 
shop, we overheard a conversation between the landlad}' and a 
stranger, the latter informing her that a wagon loaded with store 
goods belonging to Hamilton & Page, of Bellefonte, was expected 
shortly to pass. This animating intelligence raised our drooping 
spirits, and to increase our ardor for plunder, M'Guire. another of 
the gang, made his appearance at the door just as we were prepar 


ing to leave the house. Affecting to treat one another as strangers, 
and dissembling our knowledge of him and he of us, we took our 
departure, after giving a secret signal known only to the fraternitj'. 
"We had proceeded but a short distance before we were overtaken 
by our old companion, and having communicated to him the infor- 
mation we got at the tavern, we concluded upon making another 
bold push to retrieve our fallen fortunes. To accomplish our views 
with more securit}^ we concerted the plan of robbing the wagon in 
the Seven Mountains, and accordingly' proceeded to execute our 
purposes. The attempt was crowned with success, and the spoil 
divided between us. Elevated with our good luck and inflamed with 
liquor, we made another attempt to rob the store of Mr. James 
Potter, of Penn's Valley, the next morning ; but though we com- 
menced the operation before the break of day, and had the advant- 
age of being armed with rifles, we were unexpectedly discovered, 
and dreading to encounter Mr. Potter and his family, whom I knew 
to be a brave and resolute man, we decamped on the first notice of 
a surprise without making any resistance. 

After this M'Guire was, dispatched to Bellefonte to reconnoitre, 
and seek out safe and suitable objects of plunder. Assuming the 
appearance of a gentleman, he was dressed out in the best suit we 
could furnish, and in this character entered one of the shops with 
the pretended view of purchasing store goods, while his chief in- 
tention was to gain information and make his observation of the 
premises, particularly as to the manner of securing the store at 
night, and the vigilance or carelessness of the owner. Abandoning 
the project of a robbery by force, we now resolved to attain by 
stratagem what we dreaded to effect by violence. A new scheme 
was adopted : M'Guire was to return in the garb and character of 
a laborer, to procure employment, and after gaining admittance 
into the family as a domestic, he was to carry on a secret corres- 
pondence with us, and as soon as the plot was ripe for action, in- 
troduce us into the store the first night the storekeeper might hap- 
pen to be absent. But owing either to his imprudence or the sa- 
gacity of the storekeeper, he was suspected to be an impostor and 
refused employment. 

On the return of M'Guire the news of his failure filled us with 
new terror, when we agreed to separate for a time, the better 
to avoid detection and elude the officers of justice. For several 
days I concealed myself in the most lonely places I could find in 
the vicinity of Bellefonte, and at night slept, or rather lay in the 


woocls, under the most distressing feelings of fear and alarm. The 
least noise ^'as sufficient to disturb me, and the dismal scream of 
the screech owl terrified my imagination with awful forebodings. 
One night, while I laj'^ under a large oak, my thoughts were much 
engaged in meditating upon the forlorn condition to which I had 
brought myself b}^ my imprudent and criminal conduct — sleep had 
forsaken my e^^elids, and my waking attention was alive to every 
noise around me. The shaking of a tree, or the fall of a leaf pro- 
duced agitation and trembling; thus I spent the night, anxious for 
the return of morning, and vainly expecting that the light of day, 
while it would dissipate the darkness that overspread the earth, 
might also remove the deep gloom that pervaded my mind. Alas! 
the sun shines onlj' for the innocent and happ}' ; and those who are 
not innocent and free from guilt can no more expect to find happi- 
ness either in this world or that to come, than they can look for 
sunshine in the midst of night, without disappointment. During 
the night I had heard a strange noise, not unlike the cracking of a 
horsewhip, and vay mind dwelling on the recent circumstance of 
the robbery in the Seven Mountains, the alarm of conscience in- 
duced me to imagine that the noise proceeded from the whip of the 
plundered wagoner, who had come in pursuit of me. I jumped up 
and stood upon m}^ feet, expecting everj^ moment to see the 
wagoner in person, and feel the lash of his whip. The moon shed 
but a dim light through the thick foliage of the wood, obscuring 
my vision, and preventing me from seeing with distinctness even 
the nearest objects. I saw no human figure, heard no human voice, 
and concluded that the noise was nothing but the unreal creation 
of a disturbed imagination. After walking about for a few min- 
utes, I returned to my resting place under the oak, and lay under 
its branches until the da}^ dawned, when I awoke from a broken 
sleep of not more than half an hour's duration. The first noise 
that saluted m}- ears was a repetition of the same sound I had 
heard during the night ; and again the poor wagoner appeared in 
full view to the e^-e of my aflfrighted fancy ; but the terror of fancy 
can never equal the horror of realit}'. Instead of the wagoner and 
his whip, I perceived one of the most terrific objects that ever ap- 
palled the human sight. A tremendous snake with two heads lay 
within five feet of where I was, alternately jumping up from the 
ground, twisting and coiling itself and at intervals dashing its tail 
against the trunk of a hickory sapling. It ceased to move for an 
instant and darted at me the angry look of a swollen and distended 


eye. Horror transfixed me to the spot as fast as the oak near 
which I stood. Superstition, like fear, generally accompanies guilt, 
and I now believed the serpentine monster before me was nothing 
less than the devil, who had left the infernal abyss, and I'eappeared 
in the same form he had assumed when he tempted and deceived 
our first frail parents in the garden of Eden. The design of his 
visit I considered to be for no other purpose than to carry me off 
with him to the lower regions, body and soul, as a just punishment 
for my manifold transgressions ; and every other fear was swal- 
lowed up in the dreadful appi-ehension of being instantly devoured 
by the two-headed monster. Notwithstanding the violence of terror 
which I now suffered, the impulse of self-preservation and the love 
of life restored me to a degree of recollection and composure suffi- 
cient to enable mc to fly from the impending danger. I immedi- 
ately assumed a desperate courage, and snatching up my rifle, fled 
with the utmost velocity the feet of man are capable of, just as this 
wonder of nature had resumed its occupation of striking its tail 
against the tree. I continued my flight for several miles, and did 
not cease running until exhausted nature called for rest. Having 
reached a safe hiding place, T concealed myself in the retreat until 
night-fall, when I expected the cloud of guilt-concealing darkness 
might aff"ord greater security to my attempt to procure some food 
to relieve the pressing calls of hunger. Wandering about from 
farm to farm, I happened to espy a smoking oven, and seizing a 
favorable opportunity, when a negro wench, who had been ordered 
to watch the oven, had fallen asleep, I opened the mouth and stole 
a loaf of half-baked bread, the sweetest morsel I had eaten in my 
life, as long fasting and want of sleep had given a keen appetite to 
my empty stomach. After securing in my handkerchief the re- 
mains of the loaf, I ascended to the top of a large hay-barrack, and 
\a,y there till morning, enjo3'ing as composed a sleep as it was pos- 
sible for one to do, suffering the same effects from an aflTrighted 
imagination, which T experienced from recent scenes of terror and 
horror. I know my relation of this incident may be considered by 
many too wonderful for belief, but I assure the reader on the word 
of a dying man, that I am within the bounds of truth when I say 
that the snake of which I have just spoken would have measured 
at least twenty feet in length, and had two heads and two tails, one 
of the tails appearing to come out of the mouth of the other, with 
two large frightful eyes in each head. 

Before the separation of my companions, we had previously 


agreed upon meeting together at the Bald Eagle. I found them 
there waiting for me with impatient anxiety, and after accounting 
for ui}- detention we stole a canoe, and proceeded in it until within 
a short distance of the Big Island. Ilere we put to shore, and 
wearied with carrying our stolen burdens, we burned a part of the 
goods of Messrs. Hammond & Page. The smell drawing some per- 
sons to the spot, a discovery took place, which ended in the arrest 
of M'Guire. Connelly and I now separated to wander in the adja- 
cent hills, each taking his rifle, and fixing on the plan of firing and 
whistling as the signal for finding one another. The next morning 
we crossed the river, got our breakfast, and run some bullets at a 
house close by ; we now started for the Sinuemahoning, and reached 
the junction of Bennet's and the Driftwood-Branch; proceeding 
thence up the Driftwood-Branch, we arrived in the afternoon at the 
house of Samuel Smith, and stopped to shoot at a mark with some 
persons who happened to be there. While engaged in this sport, a 
number of persons hove in si2^ht,and recognizing Connelly and me, 
they demanded our immediate surrender, observing that if we sur- 
rendered peaceably we should be well used. Connelly swore a ter- 
rible oath, that sooner than do so he would " blow them all to hell." 
Having determined never to deprive a fellow-being of life, except in 
necessary defence, I was reduced to the painful alternative of being 
overpowered by numbers, or shoot at them to save myself. Seizing 
a gun I snapped it twice, tiring at random, but luckily it did not go 
ott". At the same moment Connelly fired his, aiming point blank 
ai one of the party in pursuit. Having procured another gun, I 
fired it also, without aiming at any one in particular. The fire was 
quickly returned by the party, when another request was made for 
our surrender. We now perceived that all hopes of escape were 
cut off, and actuated by a false spirit of revenge, we uttered the 
most improper threats of defiance, and called aloud for them to fire 
away, discharging our guns at the same time. The fire was imme- 
diately answered with a volly from the assailants ; Connelly escaped 
the shots, but I was wounded in the right arm, a little above the 
wrist, and fell. Connelly started and run, but as he retreated 
through a grain field over the creek, he was fired at, and afterwards 
was found hid in a tree top, with a severe wound in his groin, im- 
mediately below the belly, the bullet penetrating the left side and 
descending had come out at the outside of the right thigh. 

Having dressed our wounds with all the skill and care they were 
ciijjable of, the party who took us purchased a canoe, and prepared 


to move us down the river, and on Sunday, the 3d of Jul}', lauded 
near the Big Island, in Lycoming count}'. We were then taken to 
Carskadden's tavern, and attended b}' three phj^sicians and a min- 
ister of the gospel. My unhappy companion, receiving no assist- 
ance from medical aid, and no comfort from the ministerial offices 
of religion, died that night in gloom}' eullenness. Peace to his 
ashes. Though the period allowed for repentance was shoi't, may 
the mercy of God be greater than his repentance, and forgive all 
his sins and all his crimes. 

I was removed to this place as soon as my wound permitted, and 
with as much tenderness and humanity as the nature of the case 
allowed of. 

I have now brought the history of my adventures to a close, hav- 
iug given as faithful a relation of the more important incidents of 
my life as my memory enables me to recollect in my present dis- 
tracted state of mind, and suffering condition of bodily pain. I 
have been thus particular to gratify the wish of a near and dear 
friend, who has always taken the greatest interest in my fate, at- 
tended me frequently in my illness, and who has promised to re- 
main the friend of my wife, whom a few days more will make a 
widow, and the father of my children, soon to become the orphans 
of charity without his protecting care. In addition to my anxiet}'' 
to oblige one who was my friend in adversity, I have been induced 
to undergo the painful task of making this confession, with the 
hope and belief that the publication of my unhappy case may be 
useful, not only to my surviving companions, and to society in gen- 
eral, but more especially to youth of the rising generation ; oper- 
ating as a solemn warning to old and young against indulging in 
the same wicked practices which have distinguished my unhappy 
life, and brought ruin on myself, and disgrace upon my family and 

The ways of sin can have no pleasure in them. If every I'obber 
and criminal found as little satisfaction in following the pursuits of 
vice "as I have done, he must confess their insufficiency to obtain 
happiness, or even a common share of tranquillity. During the day 
I have felt as if the eyes of all men were upon me, and at night was 
undei" a constant dread of secret apprehension. 

Alas ! the only little happiness I ever tasted was in the bosom of 
my family, and in the society of my wife. When, after a guilty 
round of crime and dissipation, I have returned to the little room 
that contained my beloved Melinda, " the calm abode of humble 


virtue," and found her engaged in the concerns of domi'stic indus- 
try — when I have entered by surprise and perceived her, unseen, 
sitting at the wheel, and heard her singing the old song of " Bess 
and her Spinning Wheel," I have been overpowered with feelings of 
delight, and shed tears of jo}'. 

Although I deeply lament my second marriage, and blame m3'self 
for involving an amiable stranger in distress and misfortune, I pray 
for her forgiveness, and hope she will continue the mother and 
guardian of my little girls, whose tender years will require all her 
care and all her instruction to raise them up in virtue and industry. 
When I last saw them they promised to be as beautiful as the 
daughters of Job ; should they be as virtuous as their lovely name- 
sakes, I shall not have lived altogether in vain, but may be honored 
after my death in the honors paid to them, and have the disgraceful 
end of an ignominious life washed away by the virtuous otfspring 
of my Jemima and Kesiah. 

Philadelphia, in m}' opinion, is by no means a good place to bring 
up a farail3\ There are fewer snares and less temptations in the 
country than in the city ; under this impression, I recommend it to 
my wife to return to Fayette, as soon as she can make the necessary 
arrangements for a removal of herself and children. 

While I have been in jail, I have received every attention due to 
one in ra}- situation, not onl}" from the physicians of the town, but 
the ladies and gentlemen generally ; and to Sherifl Mitchell and his 
excellent lady I should be most ungrateful indeed if I did not ex- 
press my thanks for the mau}^ kind offices of humanit}' and benev- 
olence they continued to bestow on me from the firsi day of my 
lodgment in jail. The jailer and his family have been equally kind 
and good ; and I die at peace with all men. The party who pursued 
and took me I sincerely forgive for being the instrument of my 
death. Acting under the authority of the law, they performed only 
their duty as good citizens, and have set an example worthy of imi- 
tation, in risking their own lives to save society and liberate the 
country from the depredations and terrors of a desperate baud of 
robbers, counterfeiters and outlaws. 

To the amiable minister who visited me in jail, and praj'ed for 
me and with me, when I lay on my miserable pallet, looking with 
fear and trembling in awful suspense for the approach of death, I 
return the unfeigned thanks of an oppressed sinner, for his frequent 
intercessions at the throne of grace in my behalf And you, my 
kind friend, who have promised to remain with me and close my eyes, 


accept ray grateful acknowledgments for all you have done for me, 
and when j^ou have seen me laid with decency in the grave, bear to 
my mother the last token of remembrance she will ever receive from 
her dying son — a small lock of hair, cut with his own hand from 
the head of the unfortunate, but repentant 

Bellefonte Jail, 12th July, 1820. DAYID LEWIS. 

[ David Lewis, the robber, died in the Bellefonte, Pa., jail on 
July 13th, 1820.— Ed.]